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Tag Archives: eulogy

An Eerie Sense of Loss

Wedding in the Grove

A really beautiful ceremony in the Avocado grove of the London home – Nipomo, CA

I attended a really nice wedding this past Saturday. The groom is the only son of a long-time, childhood friend. Amazingly, I never had the opportunity to get to know this young man. For numerous reasons, he just didn’t come into my life. Part of it was they lived on the East Coast during his early years and I never made it out there. There are surely other reasons, but I’ll be damned if I can clearly articulate them . . . at least not without straying from the message I want to convey in this post.

After the ceremony and after we’d all sat down and eaten dinner, the Best Man and Maid of Honor presented their toasts. They were good. Actually, they were excellent. Heartfelt, somewhat revealing, and occasionally quite funny. Afterward, they opened the mic up for anyone who wanted to speak and several did.

What was strange for me was I had this eerie feeling I wanted to speak. As I said, I know virtually nothing about the Groom. I have not spent more than a moment in his presence as far as I can remember. Of course, I didn’t (and wouldn’t) get up and take the microphone. I know what I was feeling was, in large part, about me – not him. However, in that moment I was reminded of how similar I have felt at funerals.

Now, before you think I’m getting all macabre, let me explain. I have written before of my feeling attending funerals of people I never had the opportunity to meet. The situation was somewhat similar – at least as far as the having never met part goes. I did not know the son of a long-time friend, someone who had been my roommate more than once. Someone I had spent many years with and with whom I shared dozens of friends. Someone who I feel very much is family.

As those toasts were taking place, and the Bride and Groom were being hailed and revealed, I felt a sudden sense of great loss, much like I have when listening to eulogies. I suppose that’s what made it so damned eerie – as they were very much alive and, in fact, at the very beginning of a special journey. I almost felt guilty.

I had my daughters with me, it was getting late, and we had a nearly three-hour drive ahead of us, so we left shortly after the speeches. Actually, although they wanted to go (it was also getting a bit chilly and we weren’t adequately prepared for it – mea culpa), they wouldn’t leave until they’d had a piece of the wedding cake. I managed to grab a cup of coffee as well. As we were leaving, I remembered something the Best Man had said. He talked about how he and the Groom had spent many hours discussing religion and politics. As we took our leave, I took the Groom aside and remarked about the reality we had never gotten to know one another. I also told him of the many hours I had spent with his father discussing religion and politics and how I hoped, perhaps, we could still get to know each other. He reminded me I have his cell phone number.

I don’t know if we’ll communicate much, but I hope we do. There are so many important things we miss in life, frequently because we’re a bit overwhelmed by all the little things that vie for our attention. I don’t like the sense of loss they bring. On the other hand, I’m reasonably certain this will continue in other ways. There just isn’t enough time and there are too many obligations we all face. <sigh>

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There Are No Ordinary People

Ordinary PeopleBased on the amount of traffic I’m seeing about the tragedy in Connecticut yesterday, I’m reasonably certain the fallout from this event is not going to soon subside. In fact I’m wondering if, now that the election is over, all the energy that had gone into finding ways to communicate and share in order to affect the outcome of the November contests isn’t looking for another avenue to express itself. We’ll see.

There’s one particular aspect of this tragedy that struck me recently and I wanted to quickly share my feelings about it. It has nothing to do with guns and violence, but it definitely has to do with death and loss. A Facebook (and real life) friend of mine shared this article from the New York Times and, in a comment later, said the following: “Ordinary people are much more courageous than we give them credit for being.”

This reminded me of something that has long intrigued me. I’m curious to know if others have felt the same. I have been to quite a few funerals or memorial services in my life for people I either didn’t know at all or knew very superficially. These include members of my wife’s family, spouses of co-workers, employees at a favorite venue, etc.

One of the things that stands out in my recollection of those experiences is the feeling I always got that I had missed something; that a special person had slipped through my fingers and now I would be forever barred from appreciating their existence and the particular light they shone out into the world.

Now, I know I can’t possibly get to know everyone, yet listening to friends, family, and co-workers reminisce and reflect on the life of the person for whom we were gathered together in memory of, always seemed to leave me with a feeling of incompleteness, of having missed something wonderful and extraordinary.

I’m of the opinion there’s no such thing as an ordinary person.


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