'til Again We Meet
There is a file folder in my drawer that is getting way too fat. It holds a collection of programs from memorials, celebrations of life, funerals. Yes because I am getting older and the demographics are catching up with me, some of the baby boomers… well… have boomed. “Expired” does not do them justice.
A dear friend who happens to be the same age as my long-legged lover made his transition “beyond the veil” as his faith tradition put it so eloquently, less than a week ago. Family and friends gathered to mourn and celebrate. Photos from his youth revealed a much healthier version but even in the more recent pictures that included wheelchairs, the smile still radiated—as did his bride. At the service, she shed not a tear, and unapologetically explained her delight at his freedom from a body that had shut down his ability to serve—which had been his great joy in life.
A running joke developed between those presiding over how much advance notice they had been given for participating in his service. One said six weeks, the next said a year, and the last—fourteen years. She was a woman of Samoan descent. My friend had attended her father’s funeral fourteen years ago and been so moved by the music of her relatives that he requested her to sing when his time came. She sang “God Be With You ‘til We Meet Again,” acapella, in Samoan. Her exquisite rich contralto finished our celebration of a life well-lived and left us wanting more. He was a musician after all, so the fact that he had planned this fourteen years before his funeral made perfect sense.
My friend’s farewell had been brewing for almost a decade. A growing snowball of contributing conditions ultimately pushed him beyond the veil. His radiant bride valiantly and cheerfully supported through years of tests, blood transfusions, rehab sessions and hospital stays as they birthed and buried hope after hope. All the while, my friend was continually surrounded by his loving family, eleven grandchildren and lots of music and card games. Fare well they did.
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