Friday, June 20, 2008

All That Heaven Will Allow

Last night was the viewing. The memorial service is this afternoon.

I have to say, my office is amazing. We're closed today in honor of Chuck and to make sure everyone can get to the memorial this afternoon. Everyone has been making sure everyone else is OK, recognizing it's not easy for any of us.

It's not that I like everyone here, but the people I am close to, they are friends, almost family at this point.

Last night wasn't a viewing in the sense of seeing him in a coffin, because he wasn't there. He's been cremated. It was a gathering to remember Chuck's life, to pay respects to the family.

When my grandmother passed away we had a viewing. It's the only one I've been to. I can't remember if it was what she wanted, or we organized it that way for all the friends and relatives. It was heart wrenching, and I was dreading the idea.

But last night, while it was at a funeral home, was both light and heavy.

There were boards full of pictures of him and his family. There was a slide show running. I saw that and thought, "Oh, no, this is going to make me cry even more."

It was hard to see some of those pictures. His parents have outlived him, as has his grandmother. They were all there - in pictures and in the room. This squeezes my heart so immensely. Who ever expects to outlive a child, much less a grandchild?

But it was also amazingly helpful. When you didn't have anything to say, or didn't want to say anything, because you knew you would cry, you could just watch the wall.

You'd be in a very heavy moment, a group of you together, and then suddenly a shot of Chuck from the 80s, with feathered hair and tight Op shorts, and big glasses would come on the screen. One person would point, and you'd all look up.

And at some of those pictures, you couldn't help but laugh.

Throughout the evening his wife had Springsteen playing in the background.

He was his favorite.


  1. For me, these sorts of things are either very worthwhile, or painfully counterproductive. Never in between. It all depends on the tone set by those closest to the deceased. If they set the right tone, these can begin the healing process... if not, they just twist the knife in further.

    I'm glad it was in the former category, and not the later.


  2. sounds like a wonderful gathering. (((hugs)))

  3. sounds like a wonderful gathering. (((hugs)))

  4. Thanks, you guys. It was great, it really was.


Tell me about it.