Friday was one of few and far between. And I want to talk about it. I want to talk about how I began my day at a wake and ended it at a wedding. I want to talk about the sense of ending and the sense of beginning, respectively.
There were flowers at both. Flowers beside the casket and flowers down the aisle. I walked in quietly, head to toe in black apparel, hands shaking so much that I needed to curl my fingers into a fist in order to tame it if only momentarily. I walked in quietly. And there were tears at both – specifically mothers. The tears… they fell the same way but stood for something on two entirely contrasting ends.
I’m thinking about the wake and the wedding and how they’re maybe not so few and far between. They are both, traditionally, a sort of social gathering. It’s all about family, and friends, and the people who know that you’re meant to be celebrated. It’s just that they talk about wakes as if we’re celebrating life but what is it about an empty body that calls for a celebration? Why should we celebrating removing and sewing and taking away everything that makes a body?
When the smiling mother walked down the aisle, bouquet in tow, I saw the guests mirroring her expression. I lowered my head because I didn’t want to appear as any less happy than those around me. But the truth is, I couldn’t bring myself to think about anything but his mother. His mother who, earlier that same day was on her knees in front of casket that held the body of her boy. Her boy who she will never get to watch get married, her boy who was no longer there.
I wonder at what point, if at all yet, did she think about that. About how instead of watching his hand receive a ring, she’s watching other hands lower him into the ground.
The thing about wakes and weddings is that they are occasions that are sort of the same. We hug, we reminisce, we listen to words about the person we’re there for.
But when it’s all over… the bride, and the groom, they wake up the following morning.
They wake up.
my heavy heart with no light