11 Things I Learned From a Funeral: [30 DAYS OF WRITING: EPISODE 14/30]

My little cuz: it took a funeral to meet her. A gift from beyond the grave...?

My little cuz: it took a funeral to meet her. A gift from beyond the grave…?

This is day 14 of a New Year’s Resolution.

1. Some things really are forever.

2. It’s possible to be an agent of change without even being alive.

3. Jewish comfort food is actually comforting.

4. The most important conversations are one-on-one, but they might require a little extra effort: eg. sleeping on a couch in your clothes or sitting in a freezing-cold parked car.

5. There are three sides to every story, and most of them don’t really matter.

6. The biggest gift you can give is listening. The second biggest gift is just being there, silent.

11. Thinking about people you've lost makes you think about other people you've lost.  Uncle Bill: Circa 1960.

11. Thinking about people you’ve lost makes you think about other people you’ve lost.
Uncle Bill: Circa 1960.

7. Crying is cathartic and healing and should be done with great gusto.

8. Family has more to do with who you call “grandpa” than genes or marriage.

9. Real, live teenage cousins are even better than students.

10. Not even forever is forever.

Order Amidst Chaos: What Do You Wear For Your Brother’s/Uncle’s Funeral? [30 Days Of Writing: Episode 12/30]

Like father, like son.

Like father, like son.

This morning, I came downstairs dressed for my Uncle’s funeral.

I’d assembled a cozy sweater and blazer and a tie that my parents had given me some years back. It wasn’t the usual black suit, but as I’ve said, my Uncle wasn’t a black suit sort of guy.

That, and I knew it would be a long day. I dressed for comfort. Not comfortable, per say, but comforting.

My father was dressed, already, in a look brilliantly executed, as if from the pages of a classy Brooks Brothers catalog. Structured and calm and beautifully put together.

It was one of the longest days in human history. We both cried many times. But as our respective styles suggested, I was, indeed, comforted.


After the hardest part of the day: a cup of Joe.

And my father was classy and beautifully put together.