...And that's in the sense of a chess match -- or, better yet, the stop that keeps you from falling off the end of a suspended rope.
I'd been inclined to sulk, or at least marinate; had pretty bad writer's block the last couple of months, some annoying health problems, and found myself becoming more and more reclusive. Most of my interactions with others have not been positive.
Reality has a way of slamming you -- or me, anyway -- upside the head when things get too dark and bleak.
I went to a funeral today, service for someone I really liked. Put on my best approximation of grown-up clothes* and went. Zillion people in a t00-small room, which does me just exactly like you'd think.
But for my most extroverted, people-including aunt? Totally gonna do it. Made myself do it. Her husband was my blood relative, one of Dad's two younger brothers, who passed away about two years ago. It was a second marriage for both of them and an unlikely pairing that worked like music. My uncle, like my father, like all his other brothers and their only sister that made it to adulthood, was well beyond reserved; that bunch communicated by the smallest of expressions and celebrated reunions after decades apart with a curt nod or, in a rarely-seen excess of emotion, a quick handshake. But also like his siblings, he had a quick smile and often a twinkle in his eye; the waters ran deep but they could run merry. And who did he wed?
A bigger-than-life nurse. A woman with a big smile, a big voice, a bigger laugh and a way of gesturing that made it clear she'd hug the whole world if she could. She never met a stranger and a relative by any means could never have been a stranger anyway. She regarded her husband's side of the family as a bit of a challenge and always managed to get everyone up and involved, without ever seeming pushy or condescending. She was a gem and liked by all.
When her husband passed away -- Dad's last brother left -- she was a gentle guide at the funeral, organizing a loving remembrance that was solemn where it needed to be but by no means funereal, and some memory of that day, some hint of her presence -- same room, same group -- seemed to hover over this one.
She will be missed. Of all the siblings and spouses from that side of my family (totalling well over a dozen), only my mother remains.
And there's a wake-up call: Dance while you can. She did -- spent the last year working through her own, "I sure wish I'd done or seen" list, in fact. Went bowling the night before she died. The curtain falls for each of us but it hasn't fallen yet.
* Gets worse every year, alas. I'm at that awkward age where everything looks either too young or too old. H'mm, "mutton dressed as lamb" or "pure frump?" Decisions, decisions.
T. R. MCELROY'S STREAMLINED TELEGRAPH KEYS
6 months ago