What's to say about the last day of May?
This has been a complicated month - with lots of things to do - some highs - and some sad days.
I have been to three funerals this month at three different churches.
Early in May a youngish man - just 54 - dropped dead as he walked to work. No warning signs to prepare the family and friends who were left in a state of shock. I first met him when he was in his early 20s, liked him and was always glad to chat with him at holiday gatherings. His loss seared his large family and it hurt to see his mother and his long-time soul-mate.
It was raining and I felt that was as it should be - the heavens were crying.
Three days later I was at another church saying good-by to a wonderful woman who lived up the street from me. In her eighties she had more energy, spirit and joy in life than many half her age.
She was a woman of deep faith who had a warm and generous spirit. The last two weeks of Jim's life she brought him Holy Communion every morning. She would stop off after early morning Mass, say a few prayers, give the Communion to us, laugh a bit and then slip away.
In November she was given a surprise diagnosis and she died in May. That's how things go, isn't it?
Now I ride down my street and it does not feel the same.
Today our family went to a small church on Capital Hill where a long-time colleague and friend of Jim's was burying his well-loved wife. They found each other later in life and had 25 wonderful years together - a very well-matched pair. We had been in this very church25 years ago for their wedding and Jim had been so honored to stand as Best Man for his friend.
The church is a gem and was as lovely today as it was the first time we were here 25 years ago for their beautiful wedding. Today's funeral service was conducted by the same gracious woman who was the pastor then. The sun shone through the richly colored stained glass windows - windows that were installed in 1910.
Love and sweet memories give some ceremonies like this one a special combination of joy and sadness. Good friends spoke with love and told stories about her. Her young adult granddaughter's remarks were the sweetest I have ever heard as she talked about her relationship with her grandmother. And our friend sat straight and proud through it all.
I wished for Jim - and there were times when I felt he was there.
I thought of the tick tock of the clock.
I was reminded of connections -
just two years ago this friend
was Jim's eulogist
at the small chapel at Arlington.
gathered fondly around the secretary
Jim and his friend had shared for many years. We remembered sitting together at a table in this very room at their wedding - 25 years ago.
Tick Tock - - -