A hug given at or received from a funeral is a hug that I haven’t really experienced until yesterday. It was my second funeral of the week and the main one of the last 4 funerals in the last 6 weeks. Yes. Exactly.
The hugs which I was given, the kisses (Jacqueline), the looks are some of those that I will never forget. The connection, the power, the love was palpable, more than usual. I walked in, saw my kin, went straight to them, hugged the crap out of them, as they did to me and that was it.
Later, I told my hubby that those hugs were like something I imagined Stanley Cup winners giving to each other after winning the cup. I know ice hockey but feel free to insert whichever trophy that you most identify with, including and with no limitations, Wimbledon, The Masters at Augusta, etc…even though those aren’t team sports. It doesn’t matter.
I also said it was like what I think a marine hug-or any warrior hug would be like. Here we go into battle hug. Strength. It’s been a party up until now hug. Now shit gets real hug. First time I’ve seen you since hug. Thanks for traveling from so far away hug. Force and love for team, for the clan, the tribe, your people. United in your grief. We will never be the same hug. Hanging on for dear life hug.
With unexpected workplace death, there are some strange emotions, I have found in these last weeks. I almost threw up when I saw the reflective signage while coming off the highway the other night. And I don’t think that I can ski Sunshine on my own just yet or golf (but I do have a while for that golf one). There are too many memories there. And though they are sacred and wonderful and joyous, I will need to ski with my man. I will need to draw on his strength as I cry, as I tremble. As I remember the good, the fun and there was so, so much of that. It was all that with him and only that.
I cried on the way to that funeral. I cried at the funeral. I appreciated that the minister said we are free to cry and laugh here today because that is precisely how we celebrate his life. I know this but I loved that he said it to us all and out loud, putting it out there in advance, making us feel welcome. I loved how well he described someone that he had never met but knew so many wonderful stories about. I loved how when he read to us some of the emails received from friends around the world, he said that he wished he’d known Bammer and he meant it. He meant it with his heart and he said it with emotion and conviction.
I loved it, of course, when some of his close friends shared stories, too, laughed, brought joy to the rest of us and cried with us. I loved the music played and the video made by his brother. In pretty much every single picture of him, he was wide eyed, smiling. Or falling off of something, laughing. Beer/drink in hand.
I drove up to the other gondola in town a few days after it happened to sit and stare out at the beauty from a giant empty parking lot. And to think and to be. My eyes are different now. They see more clearly. Everything is different and everything will change again and again. But I will never forget the feeling, the force of love of those funeral hugs or what that force gave to me, gives me. From my people, our people.