In our books, Harry and I go a little light on death. Makes sense…want to keep everyone’s spirits up for the long, good, old-age. But once in a while, death does stick its nose in. HARD. And then you have to notice it and think about it. This was Hilary’s and my time to think about it.
My beloved sister Kitty, ten years my senior, died on Monday and the funeral was yesterday, down in Florida. Pretty heavy lifting…pretty sad. The sense of never seeing someone llike that again…Brother! A big chunk, gone forever. And of course the selfish sense that, Yikes!, that’s gonna happen to us too.
But – once past that horrendous sense – the actual event was a very model of the importance of connection and commitment, in the face of the abyss. Everyone flew in…from New York, Boston and, in one case, Japan. There was this remarkable sense of the tribe gathering to support the most bereaved ones…rallying around. There was a fair amount of simple hanging out. Then a ritual funeral, like every funeral you’ve ever seen, but so intense, because it was her. Dumb, familiar words seemed beautiful…just right. Then, that night, a deep breath and a blow-out dinner for twenty of us. Not letting go, exactly, but getting past it. Okay, that’s the deal…let’s live. And here was the nice thing: this powerful sense of how important family and friends are. In the end.
Lots of people with whom you could find a fault or two, historically, looked mighty good. An extremely strong reminder, if anyone needs it, of the enormous importance of staying connected with and committed to family. And friends. And their children and dogs. Because we all need company so desperately. On the edge of the Abyss.