I know I promised you the moon today, Marina, but I feel compelled to write something else. Tomorrow good for you? I sure hope so.
I am sitting in my quiet house, having just returned from Patrice‘s funeral. The boys stayed behind with their gang to celebrate him the way twenty-somethings “should” – starting with a shotgun beer in the parking lot, no doubt, followed by who-knows-what and I should not know.
Visitation was held from 10:00 am till 3:00 pm today (plus four hours yesterday from 4:00-8:00 pm) followed by the religious ceremony in the chapel, which was the room right beside – a rarity, not the chapel, but the religious ceremony. Most of my family came and it was no easy feat for all the “kids” who had hung out with Pat on the cruise. It was just so surreal.
There is a different dynamic when the deceased is a twenty-two-year-old healthy, full-of-life type. I’ve been to far too many forty-somethings and fifty-somethings funerals already since, let me see, 2001 – so almost twenty years. And I thought THEY were all too young. So this? No. Almost impossible to wrap one’s head around it.
Life celebrations have gone from boards with pictures or albums on tables showing the life of the loved one to movies or montages of their life scrolling in an endless loop. I thought seeing a fifty-year old’s was hard. This was a punch in the solar plexus. They had a corner for Pat’s art, a long table with various pictures and favourite pieces such as a hockey shirt, his football trophies and such and, of course, a beautifully done video. And, oh Lordy. I was not ready to see him lying in his coffin. Everyone gets cremated now. Visitation is an urn with a 16″ X 20″ (or two) photo beside the urn. Not this time. They went old-school for this.
The place was packed with mask-wearing mourners of all ages. the priest came in and told us that he would give one prayer and then ask us to make our way next door to the chapel, leaving the family to say their final farewell in private.
Standing by your bench, watching your own twenty-two-year-old and his four friends, plus Pat’s cousin, roll the casket to the front, while this song is playing is sobering. These young men were doing their best to hold it together as they performed their solemn duty, then sat together and let their emotions do what was needed. This song just about killed me.
Father Sylvain was perfect. He said beautiful things and asked those who pray to pray; never preaching
Jules, Marilyn and Maude (his parents and sister) came up and Jules spoke for them. He started off by saying he promised Pat he wouldn’t cry and he spoke beautifully, his composure cracking only at the end; his wife and daughter on either side of him, giving him what he needed to push through. My heart broke for them.
I know Pat’s family chose music that he loved and when this song played, I watched as their heads bopped to the beat. I know it wasn’t the lyrics they were feeling.
Father Sylvain introduced Charles-Olivier to come and say a word and the five young men stood up as one, the four surrounding him as he read the beautiful post he wrote the day he found out he lost his friend, his gym partner, his clown, the one who always said how much he loved them who was now his guardian angel.
There were the usual blessings and the thank yous and, as the following song played, we were all invited to come up and use the provided Sharpies (and Purell) to write something on the casket. Now THAT is a beautiful thing.
May I say that I do not want to do this again.