I'm almost all the way through this two-day stint of funerals and wakes, and ready to be all-the-way-through. I'm exhausted and could use a good cry. This morning's funeral for David was beautiful and touching, and it was helpful to remember through it that David is finished with his years and years of suffering.
After the funeral I saw a girl with whom I've kept in touch since leaving there- she's a junior in college now. She hugged me hard and cried so hard that my shirt was wet. Her parents are away this week and she's serving as "mom" to her younger brother and sister, and I imagine it must have been a hard thing, experiencing this sad situation as the grown-up-est.
The wake for Alex was sobering and kind of awkward. Since there were so many people there, they put the casket in the day chapel and had everyone sit in the main church while others, a section of the church at a time, filed through. They had Christian music playing and a slide show on a projector of pictures of Alex throughout his life. It was, I suppose, the only way to manage such large crowds, but it was difficult because everyone was seated as they came in, which meant you could be far away from anyone you knew, which happened to one of the high school girls I know. I helped her jump the line and walk through with friends who could help her. The kids in Alex's class have not, until now, seen a young person like themselves in an open casket.
I worked with a therapist once long ago who taught me that teenagers at some point experience their first "mortality moment"- that moment when they first realize that they are mortals. I suppose a lot of young people in North Andover are having their mortality moments this week.