I am grateful today for whatever caused me, while I was loading my ipod shuffle Friday night, to place in the midst of Lake Wobegon stories, "Selected Shorts" and "This American Life" podcasts, arrangements of Vivaldi and various songs kifed from Pandora; the song "Here Comes My Girl" by Tom Petty. It came on at mile 12.5 of my second half marathon, when the wind was in my face and my legs were begging me to "just walk a little bit". And it made me imagine my dh waiting for me at the finish line, singing (okay, thinking; let's get real) those words. And then it made me pick up my feet and make it to the end, Stuntman and Flip and Miss Bee running the last 50 feet right along with me. Thank you.


funerals i have known

I went to a funeral for the husband of a friend in my book club yesterday. It was beautiful and sad, for lack of more expressive terms. But that's just what it was. I didn't know her husband at all, so I was there more for her.

I have been to five funerals. The first two were for grandparents; I was 8 at the first one and a senior in high school at the second, so my degree of understanding differed greatly between the two. The third was for my father-in-law, who died in a car accident, just after we had moved two states away and I was pregnant with Flip. Two of my sisters-in-law were also pregnant, and out of the three cousins that came from those pregnancies, the two boys bear their grandpa's name as their middle name. The fourth was for a child, a funeral I'm still not sure why I attended. They were a family who had visited our church meetings a few times, and they sat behind us, and their kids were little and fun to watch. Their little boy died under suspcious circumstances (involving a caregiver), horrible to think about - I still don't know what the outcome of the investigation was. And this was the fifth.

You can't go to a funeral without putting yourself in one of the many roles you see played in it: the widowed spouse, the daughter/son/parent/other family member of the deceased, the deceased him-/herself. Through all 5 of those I've attended, I've found that even if you don't know the deceased that well, you still react. Even if it's like this one - just watching the strong, tough matriarch of a family of 8 children, weary from dealing with 2 years of her husband's illness and watching his battle unfold, walk down the church aisle on her son's arm behind the casket with her eyes full of tears, still trying to be strong and tough.