You can die in bits and pieces; you can die in one quick flash
Die the ancient voice of wisdom, or die early, young and brash
Tuck your body in a coffin; pick an urn to hold your ash
Your survivors will remember you and cry
In the stories of your childhood, of your young and reckless past
How you fiercely burned your candle—who could think it would not last?
You could live to be a hundred; it would still be gone too fast
Life is never seen so brief as when we die
This weekend’s funeral was, again, beautiful, though again not so beautiful that I would not have wished it unnecessary. I was moved more than I expected to be (this was not, after all, my brother this time), and was reminded once again that each life touches so many others, often in ways that are hidden from pretty much any witness.
Strangely, I am also reminded of the mass graves–most recently in Brazil, following the mudslides, but elsewhere and elsewhen other disasters or wars–where entire communities have been lost, or where the necessities of safety and health mean that there will be no funeral, no memorial, no gathering of loved ones. I really am one of the lucky ones, to be able to remember my family this way.
A last thought though–yes, I’m one of the lucky ones, but luckier still would be to push these funerals as far into the future as we can. The local papers remind us that January’s supplies of blood in the Red Cross banks are the lowest they have been in a decade. Snowstorms keep people from blood drives, but they don’t keep people from needing blood. So, as I do on occasion, I remind you that, here in the US at least, you can find out about your local bloodmobiles at the Red Cross website. Tell them Cuttlefish sent you.