My first experience with death came when I was fifteen years old. In the space of less than seven days, my father’s mother died and a childhood friend died. Grandma’s passing wasn’t a big shock, but finding out about Dennis that Monday morning at school was like a punch to my gut. The shock of it slammed me harder than I would have imagined, after all, we hadn’t been close for years.
Most of that day is still a blur.
Since then, I’ve lost grandparents and others, each of them affecting me differently. The most recent of these was the unexpected death of my step father in May. Mother’s day will be forever altered for us, even if he wasn’t pronounced for another five days.
Today we will say our goodbyes. The memorial service will be at his sister’s house. I’ve spent the last week building a slideshow of pictures of Bob and the life we knew about. It includes what we could gather from his life before my mother, as well as pictures of places he loved. It’s set to four songs that my mother picked out, four songs I may not be able to listen to after today for a while.
It’s strange, wrapping up a person’s life in four song montage of images, knowing that no matter how you try, you are only capturing fraction of that life. We had Bob in our lives for nearly twenty years, but he was already in his fifties when he and my mother met. He has four grown children that we only know in the briefest way possible. He had two previous wives. He had a career that spanned continents and he was a man of knowledge as well as opinion.
For me, today is about supporting my mother through this process. I’m not saying I’ve finished my grieving, but for me, the pain is much less than it must be for her, as well as for the rest of his family. I’ll shed my tears, I’m sure. These songs are something of a kick to the gut for me right now. I’m going to upload the video here eventually, but I need to re-render it at a lower quality…which isn’t going to happen until tomorrow at the earliest.
For now, it’s time to finish my coffee and start loading the car. Mom should be here soon.