And what does the surviving spouse do now that everyone has paid their last respects, or as we did it, took part in a celebration of life for the dearly departed?
Everyone has gone home.
I was lucky to be able to take part in an already-planned dinner date with my now late wife’s brother and wife and one of her sisters, but now I am at home facing the reality that life is already different now.
I confess. I’m even talking to the ashes. Letting her know I am home and that my dinner hosts were gracious.
And I’m contemplating what it will be like going back to work out on the road — the difference being that while I was often away from her, I was always coming back home and, just as importantly, I had her to talk to frequently out there, thanks to the advent of cell phones. Coincidentally, she started in the cell phone business herself back in its infancy when we still called them car phones and stayed with it when we moved to those bulky bag phones and later when I witnessed big shot wannabes using cell phones loudly in public just to impress others — there were even fake cell phones you could buy to make yourself look important. Won’t work today — everyone has one, even little kids sometimes.
See? I’m going back in time. I still have that picture board we put up at the celebration of life and it makes me reminisce (and it sometimes makes me cry).
I told my wife’s sister’s first husband: “I wished we could go back in time and do it all over again.”
And this is a phenomenon I have read about before, but is so true: it seems it takes a death to bring families together — why can’t they be so when people are still alive? (Okay, I know, they don’t always get along, but people can work on that.)
I think back to when we bought our first home and had relatives over, mostly on my wife’s side — what a day it was! — and did we ever repeat it just like that? No, not that way. We should have done that about once a month or so if not more often.
And another thing: everyone has their own story and their own hopes and dreams and aspirations and their own unique set of personal circumstances, but for my money I wished I could have simply accepted that first home and that town — it was where I attended and graduated from high school — it was home.
We wandered for years desperately looking for something we could never find. That is not to say we did not have good times — we certainly did. But there was always that sense of longing for something we could not quite identify.
It was home and family. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have them, but we did , and they’re still there really.
They say “you can’t go home again.” For some people, maybe not. But if you have that desperate feeling of longing maybe you can.
I’d run to it if I were you……