You don’t get to my age without losing a few people.
Honestly, I’m not actually that old, but I have been to my fair share of funerals. The sad part is that most of them have not been for elderly relatives. Instead it’s one great-grandmother, one grandfather, two suicides, an accident, and a murder.
The murder was the hardest. She had been a close friend in highschool. A time when I was the emotional, romantic, poetry-writing, My Chemical Romance loving, angsty teenager who had so many ideals and feelings she had to share with anyone who would listen. This friend would always listen.
I didn’t speak at her funeral. Sometimes I think I should have, but over the years after highschool we had become more distant, seeing each other only at parties, making fake promises to catch up over a drink together sometime, just us two. Instead I listened to others speak, simple sentiments, the occasional poem. Songs were played in her memory, I still can’t listen to Zombie by the Cranberries without feeling sad. And we all separated, a funeral home bursting full of young, lively people, dressed in black, grieving for someone that shouldn’t have been grieving for.
The person who killed her stabbed two hitchhikers before he was caught.
I don’t remember the poems they read at her funeral. I wish I did. Many poems read at funerals are not in the best taste. It’s as if those who are reading it never actually read it. It sometimes comes across like a mournful hallmark card. And it’s rarely as if those people enjoyed poetry. At least not to my knowledge.
Funerals are not really my thing. It’s not for those who have departed, but for those who are left. And in these circumstances, I would rather be alone. Then the poetry isn’t for them, it’s only for me.
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.
Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put the crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.
He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.
The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;
For nothing now can ever come to any good.
(W. H. Auden)