Between Nicole's funeral two weeks ago and Bob's today, it's hasn't been a fun couple of weeks for those of us who knew them both.
I haven't been to very many funerals that I can recall. I went to more wakes when I was younger, but none for anyone that I had really gotten to know.
This time around, the caskets seemed so... small.
Maybe they just looked bigger when I was a kid. Or maybe it was because I'd never really understood that, inside, was someone who was once a real, live person.
Lately, I've been re-reading the Tom Stoppard play, 'Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead' -- in particular, the passage where they're talking about being dead. It's after all the funny bits with the coin-flipping and the verbal tennis -- Act II:
Rosencrantz: ...Do you ever think of yourself as actually dead, lying in a box with a lid on it?
Rosencrantz: Nor do I, really....It's silly to be depressed by it. I mean one thinks of it like being alive in a box, one keeps forgetting to take into account the fact that one is dead... which should make all the difference... shouldn't it?
I mean, you'd never know you were in a box, would you? It would be just like being asleep in a box. Not that I'd like to sleep in a box, mind you, not without any air -- you'd wake up dead, for a start, and then where would you be? Apart from inside a box. That's the bit I don't like, frankly. That's why I don't think of it...
Because you'd be helpless, wouldn't you? Stuffed in a box like that, I mean you'd be in there forever. Even taking into account the fact that you're dead, really...
Ask yourself, if I asked you straight off -- I'm going to stuff you in this box now, would you rather be alive or dead? Naturally, you'd prefer to be alive. Life in a box is better than no life at all. I expect. You'd have a chance at least. You could lie there thinking -- well, at least I'm not dead! In a minute someone's going to bang on the lid and tell me to come out. (Banging the floor with his fists.) "Hey you, whatsyername! Come out of there!"
Today was also the first time I'd gone to a cemetary for the actual burial service.
If the service was heartwrenching, the drive over in the funeral procession was nerve-wracking. People around here barely pull over for ambulances -- you think that they'll yield just because you've got an orange sticker in the windshield and your headlights and flashers on?
Incidentally, having the hazard flashers going the whole time was driving me bonkers -- I kept trying to turn the turn signal off.
Now, granted, it would have sucked to be a driver on the other side of all this -- there must have been a hundred cars in the procession. But, we as a society have determined that it's important to make allowances so that people can say farewell to the dead.