I woke up in the predawn hours and checked the weather app for the conditions at the farm today . Cold and cloudy was the prediction my phone had. I guess in my head I had wished for a spring sunny day with balmy temps and daffodils popping up in the yard for the day of Adam’s Funeral. Instead, the weather will give cover for those who will clutch themselves tightly as to brace from the cold, when it is the emotions of saying goodbye to Adam that they will likely be bracing against.
I use to wonder what good purpose was it to have calling hours and a funeral. (Side story, my co workers have never heard the term calling hours. So now I’m unsure if that is a regional or family term that I grew up with to signify the visitation time before a funeral)
Before I was forced to be in a receiving line at a funeral, I imagined it to be about the worst place one could be. Being on the receiving side of everyone else’s emotions on a day you never wanted to have happen in the first place.
What I learned though was that in the days between the death and the funeral, you pick through photos and stories with those closest in your circle basically having days of living memorial services with each conversation around the kitchen table , yard or impromptu gathering spot. By the time there is a line in front of you, you are ready to see a “few” people come through the line.
It didn’t take long for me to realize what the value is standing in that line though. I was amazed at the small but touching stories that the person shaking my hand (often with their hand shaking from emotion) would relay. Sometimes people could only manage a hug, lacking the words to match their emotions. Somehow, those hugs told even deeper stories. In those hours of standing and greeting, I got it. The method, the reason. Why it is an important part of dealing and healing from the gaping wound of losing someone so near. That in the mass of people and stories, hugs and handshakes, your vision begins to change. The broken bits get picked up and arranged into a viewer so that the slightest bit of light now shows a beautiful kaleidoscope. With every new person comes a turn of the lenses and another beautiful view of how your loved one touched their life. Sometimes, it wasn’t even directly. I was thankful for even those who came because my loved one touched the life of their loved one and they just wanted to pay respects for that.
I’m sorry I will not be at the funeral today to share in the stories and hugs.
I can envision a 21 tractor salute for Adam. The taking of his casket to to cemetery on a 1910 steel wheel wagon pulled by a two cylinder antique John Deere tractor. Not really practical, as those old tractors would make for a really slow procession, but the imagery will by my personal service paid to Adam in my mind.
Love to all today who share in the memory of Adam Henry Michael. If someone gives you an extra long hug, know that part of it was from me, for I will be with you all in spirit.