When I was younger, I often wondered how it was that the elders around me seemed to react to death so calmly. Now, as a man, I realize that they have had to come to a reconciliation with the thing after having seen so much of it. I feel that way, like someone that has come to a forced settlement. It has not even been close to half a century and I am determined that I have sat too much in the audience of farewell ceremonies. I feel that way.
By his own decree, my brother transitioned out of this life not long ago and it wrecked my understanding of everything that is. I am still dragging myself back to solid footing. I thought about it as I sat in the second row of the church this time. Ms. Lady was dead. In pain, she exited. She had battled an autoimmune disease for some twenty-five years and succumbed.
The building was a beautiful structure. Somewhere up on a hill. There were wide glass panes that ran the length of its dimensions and sunlight outside, soft carpeting like a lake of burgundy wine, intricate organ pipes clinging to the walls like brass bones; even the religious symbols were striking. I made the sign of the cross. I recited creeds from memory. I sang the hymns that I had been socialized with, although I no longer subscribed to the religious constructs these things represented.
Ms. Lady would probably think I had become full of myself, transformed into some pretentious intellectual type with blasphemous ideas. We had lost touch over the years somewhat. I am certain that she did not have the time or luxury to think about her faith as indoctrination anyway. And who would I be to tell her different? She was battling her disease, and by all accounts, squeezing the most out of life before it was gone. We would never have the opportunity to even discuss such matters, or for me to explain that I still believed in faith, its power and a God of the universe – this one and all the others.
But what did it matter now? She had transitioned out of this life and so had my beloved brother before her. We were contemporaries. We had all played together as children. And now, in what many consider to be the prime of life, she exited. Just like that, there was more for me to come to terms with. Something inside of me wanted to fall out on the floor and bawl. Instead, I sat in the pews with my kin and sang the words printed in the program.