Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Funeral

I didn't listen to Obama's State of the Union address last night. My daughter, wife, and I spent the whole day driving back from Baton Rouge, where we had gone to attend the funeral of Susan's mom. It was a miserable ride back. It rained virtually the entire way, and by the time we got back in Oklahoma it was cold as well. The last thing I wanted to do was listen to a speech by a politician . . . any politician.

Susan, as well as her whole family, is doing well. This was not a death that was unanticipated. Indeed, Sadie Coco Gremillion's passing from this plane of existence to the next was protracted. I cannot tell you how many years now we've been expecting to be her last. And until just recently, it was not clear how long she would survive. All of which leads me to the melancholy observation that about the only thing on the face of the planet that unifies us as human beings is death. Nothing else has its power to mystify, to terrify, to put us in our place. And nothing else--except perhaps pain--is as universal. Death is the one thing we all understand, and our understanding of it, at least on a certain level is perfect. So funerals are a tribal kind of gathering. Not only do we gather to honor the past life of the one who has died, and in this case that was something to celebrate indeed, but we gather to acknowledge the future . . . our own and that of everyone else who is there. So rest in peace, Meme. You have finished the race, a good and faithful servant.
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