The funeral was Monday. Mr. High School wore camouflage, held a turkey call and hunting trophies hung on the walls at the funeral home. There were so many people there for the service that twenty minutes before it was scheduled to start, the funeral home staff was meeting people at the door and saying, "We've got some standing room in the casket room." The minister's wife, tucked into a seat behind MommaCW (a.k.a. Blonde Best Friend From High School), Little Sister and I, whispered with a rueful chuckle, "Usually the people in the casket room are lying down."
Jokes at a funeral? I'm pretty sure Mr. High School would've approved.
When I got the phone call about the accident last Wednesday night, my first instinct was that I should go to the funeral--I felt I absolutely had to be there at least partly because if I didn't see it for myself, I wasn't sure I could ever believe he was gone. (By it, I mean the service and not the open casket. I could only take the quickest glance in that direction. I realize and respect that a lot of people find the comfort of closure in the hard reality of an open casket, but that reality is just a little too hard for me to handle. That probably makes me weak and immature, but there you go.)
By Monday morning, I had second-guessed myself a hundred thousand times. Should I go? Could I go? Would I regret going more than I would regret not going? Sunday night, I was pretty sure that chickening out was the only viable option.
I'm so glad I didn't chicken out. It meant so much to me to see so many people whose lives he had touched--some of them were old friends from high school, who even under such horrible circumstances I was still somehow delighted to see. By the end of the day, I felt I'd been yanked in a hundred different directions, but I knew without a doubt that going had been the right thing.
In the coming weeks, my thoughts will be with his family, his girlfriend and his closest friend, all of whom have a difficult time ahead.
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