It's been a sad and kind of bizarre couple of days. The fathers of two of my close friends died in their sleep on consecutive nights. Both of their fathers had been battling serious medical problems for the last few years, so it wasn't unexpected, exactly, but not expected quite so soon. And, the coincidence continues, both of their relatively healthy mothers were killed suddenly in car wrecks--one a few months ago, the other a few years. The single only other thing these two guys have in common is being friends with me, and yet, their lives share this one sad trajectory.
I still have both my parents (thank god) and so I can't really know what it's like to lose one parent, much less both. But I imagine it must leave you feeling a bit...unmoored. In many ways, my parents are so very much the anchors of my life. I know I can call on them for anything, and if it's in their power, they'll be there. They're going to get up early on Monday morning and drive me out-of-state to sing at Pat's funeral, 'cause my car is a bit unreliable these days, and because Tony is probably the closest thing they've ever gotten to a son-in-law from me. (He's my gay husband, don't you know.) They did the same thing when his mother died earlier this year, and I think the most wrenching moment of the day for me was watching Tony cling to my mother and sob.
I'll have to miss Rowe's funeral, since, coincidence continues, they're at the same time. I'm sorry to have to miss it, both because I'd like to be there for Bill, and because they're having a bagpipe play "Amazing Grace," just like Scotty did for Spock. And I'd love to see that!
I wish there was something I could say to or do for my friends to make them feel better. I know there isn't. The most I can do, and what they most expect from me, is to listen to them and laugh with them.
I've already giggled with Tony. We long ago decided that heaven is a big, beautiful meadow, filled with all the pets we've lost in our lives, and that very special people are allowed to come in as well. We imagined his parents, running cinematically toward each other across the meadow, arms outstretched, only to tumble in a heap when a certain portly Pekingese named Zooey darts beneath their feet.
In yet another odd coincidence, an elderly woman with the same first initial and last name as Bill's dad was brought to the funeral home at the same time he was, and we cracked ourselves up thinking what might happen at the viewing if the bodies were mixed up. "Well, folks, there's something about Dad you didn't know...we decided to send him off as the woman he always wanted to be."
Gallows humor. Laughing to keep from crying. For now, it's all I can do.