how do you grieve for someone you hardly know?
I attended the funeral of a close friend's grandmother yesterday. I knew no one from the family but my friend, yet I had no second thoughts about going. Maybe it was because I haven't seen him for quite a while and I wanted to be with him even for such a sad occasion. It was obvious that we wouldn't have time to talk, but kebs. So I went to the funeral mass at Arlington and to the burial at Loyola.
It was apparent that his grandmother was close to her children and grandchildren, with the long farewell before they closed the coffin. The kids each had a white balloon that they released into the air once the coffin was laid to the ground. It was a nice gesture (though the afterthought of where the deflated balloons might end up is alarming for the environment!), and I must say that albeit the usual melodrama of tears and regret, the family mourned gracefully for the passing of a loved one.
The only awkward situation was me being there.
I had no tears for the deceased; I never got to meet her while she was still alive -- in fact, she was never mentioned in any of the few meaningful conversations I've had with my friend. Even he did not seem too gloomy when I saw him yesterday; perhaps, it was the busy job of attending to everyone and leading the prayer that kept him from breaking down and making it appropriate for me to comfort him. I felt a bit uneasy when I hugged him primarily because he had this straight face that looked like it didn't need any tenderness -- or, at least, he didn't need it from someone like me who didn't know his Lola the way he or his cousins did.
Nevertheless, I think we both understood and appreciated seeing each other again despite the circumstances. I told him I wanted to see him again on another day where, he said, he wouldn't be distraught. I kidded him and asked when that could ever be, knowing how we often met for sad stories and rarely for fun...he replied, "Tomorrow -- chiz!"
And with that, I went home knowing tomorrow will be good.