I remember every one I think. The suicide. The farmer. The wicked.
The daughter arriving escorted, red lights flashing, siren silenced, shackles keeping steps short, 3 minutes of silence. The family coming after, once the shameful sister was chauffeured away.
The rain, louder than my voice could carry when we stood in the mud, breathing air the color of fog.
The alarm–in crude cadence from the hearse, separated from the grieving only by a door through which we would soon load the casket, after I spoke words of how God brings life out of death, trying to time that call to hope between the rise and fall of the alarm. The ushers panicking professionally, stepping to the back in whispers, digging in pockets for keys, to silence the ceremony-shattered sound. The thin thirteen, shoulders shrugging in suppressed snorts. The uncle, proclaiming the punchline that, it was the dead showing forth his everlasting trickery, setting thirteen’s laughter free and ours along with it. The soothing sensation in the wake of forbidden laughter, released by a gaffe so big at a time so somber.
The outlaws, once in-laws, competing to supply the better floral arrangement, while the disregarded wifeless son carefully rearranged every arriving arrangement, seeking solace in his ability to create beauty, and righteousness in disregarding the work of the original floral artists whose work did not include the tender mourning of a son for his mother.
The eyes seeking truth; the words expelled with collected energy; the stoic standing still.
The embraces. The measured distance. The cataloged stories recalled with reverence. The furtive looks to the doorway, at the clock, at knuckles and nails and names on a page.
The peculiar expression when sweet relief, adds blessed bliss, to unspeakable sorrow.
Anyone who has lived past 40 knows that January ushers in funerals.
Is it any wonder, we fill our calendars with good intentions yet find ourselves buried in lists of things we cannot seem to complete, when the memories we hold in our bodies are haunted by goodbyes we never quite finished?
Is it any wonder, that, when February comes, in the very center of it we opt for a holiday to celebrate love?
Love one. Love many. Love now.
Statistically, more people die in the month of January than any other month.
And more people are born in the months of July, August, and September.
In the end, these things remain: faith, hope, and love.