One of the girls I went to high school with, recently lost her mother to cancer. The celebration of her life will be on the 2nd of October. I'd like to go and offer support to my old friend, but my emotions have been so up and down and all over the place lately, that I'm not even going to try.
Dave's funeral was on the 5th of October last year (I think- my memory of that month isn't very good). His death was such a shock, None of us ever expected to be planning a funeral at that time or for that individual (we do have a few elderly relatives that we live in dread of planning funerals for too).
I worked hard on his funeral. It gave me something to focus on other than the massive hole ripped out of the fabric of our lives. In another world, a lifetime ago, before I was a mother (so I guess that's actually three lifetimes ago), I worked in a field that required planning and implementing events. The funeral was something I could work on fairly confidently (especially since so many people wanted to help).
We are blessed to have some amazing musicians among our friends and family. Dave's cousin Jennifer played and sang a medley of songs that have become an Anderson family funeral tradition. His brother-in-law Ciro sang one of my father-in-laws favorite hymns. Kathy Danner and her best friend Janell Carrol sang a duet of my favorite hymn (Simple Gifts- we also sang it at our wedding).
The pastor was very good at saying what I wanted to hear. It may have been partially because I handed him a written list of what I wanted to hear :-) I'm kind of like that. I forgot to write a time limit on the sheet of paper I handed him- so it was kind of long- but all in all, I received comfort from his message. My requested talking points were: We are saved through grace; We are promised eternal life; and... Love endures. He's a very kind and patient pastor and although it was our first time interacting with him (the previous pastor had just moved) he was amazing.
One of the strangest memories I carry from that day is this: I spoke at my husband's funeral. I really didn't plan to speak. Do you know any widows who've actually gotten up and talked during the funeral? It's kind of weird, yes?
I didn't sleep much that week between his death and the funeral. For some reason, at about 2 in the morning, Brandy and I were looking up something out on the porch and I found something related to Robert Service. Robert Service was one of Dave's all time favorite poets and authors. One of my favorite early memories of my time with Dave happened when we were laying on the ground outside looking at the stars. While cuddled there in the grass he started speaking... and segued right into "The Junior God"
The Junior God- by Robert W. Service
The Junior God looked from his placeIn the conning towers of heaven,
And he saw the world through the span of space
Like a giant golf-ball driven.
And because he was bored, as some gods are,
With high celestial mirth,
He clutched the reins of a shooting star,
And he steered it down to earth.
The Junior God, 'mid leaf and bud,
Passed on with a weary air,
Till lo! he came to a pool of mud,
And some hogs were rolling there.
Then in he plunged with gleeful cries,
And down he lay supine;
For they had no mud in paradise,
And they likewise had no swine.
The Junior God forgot himself;
He squelched mud through his toes;
With the careless joy of a wanton boy
His reckless laughter rose.
Till, tired at last, in a brook close by,
He washed off every stain;
Then softly up to the radiant sky
He rose, a god again.
The Junior God now heads the roll
In the list of heaven's peers;
He sits in the House of High Control,
And he regulates the spheres.
Yet does he wonder, do you suppose,
If, even in gods divine,
The best and wisest may not be those
Who have wallowed awhile with the swine?
It was early in our dating relationship and I hadn't ever heard him recite before. I was quite pleased to find out for sure that he could read :-) He loved that poem because it gently poked fun at self-righteous, holier -than-thou people and hypocrites. It also glorified the pleasure to be found in wallowing in life's unexpected pleasures. I can still see the twinkle in his eye as he approached the ending of the poem.
So... at two in the morning, the morning of the funeral, it seemed like a good idea to make sure someone would read that poem for David. For some insane reason, I felt like it was something I needed to do. Brandy (mrsbroth.blogspot.com) offered to be my back-up and we both carried copies of the poem into the funeral. This deviation from the order of events wasn't in the program. I'm not sure we actually told anyone official that we were planning on doing it- because I wasn't certain that I could actually get up in front of everyone on that day and recite Dave's favorite poem.
Yes, I am the woman who spoke at her own husband's funeral. I'm glad that I could give him that tribute, but there are still some days I can't believe that was me. My goal for the day was to keep the day as upbeat as possible, to celebrate a life well lived, and a man well loved. Dave deserved laughter and stories, not tears and sorrow. I miss him beyond anything I ever could have imagined. Before he was gone I knew I loved him and that we were very happy together, but I didn't realize how entwined we were in each other. For nine years of my life I was excited to be David Anderson's wife- and I used those exact words to tell him- every day for nine years. A year later I'm having a hard time finding the upbeat feeling and laughter that I demanded from myself in the early days. I'm tired and I'm lonely. I miss everything about him (and when I realized I missed scraping thinset out of my washing machine... well, I realized I'd lost my sanity).