It’s been almost 24 hours since I arrived home from the luncheon that followed Bill’s funeral yesterday and it’s been even longer since the two visitations I attended on Friday. My legs no longer ache and my eyes are no longer red and swollen and my heart feels lighter than it has the past couple of days. I think I handled all of it pretty well. I have pictures from the visitation and from the luncheon after the funeral that add up to about 18 and a half megabytes of data, around 61 pictures, which I will be posting to the site as soon as I figure out the best way to do it. I’m not sure if it would be better to just upload it as one big Zip file or add them into the memorial gallery I already have online.
During the visitations I lent my shoulder to anyone who needed a hug and a moment to cry. I tried to be as upbeat and positive as I could manage and as seemed appropriate considering the circumstances. I surprised myself by managing to avoid breaking down until the very end of the night when I found myself alone in the room in front of Bill’s casket and awash in a flood of good memories. I made it to the parking lot before I gave up and let my sorrow express itself in the relative privacy of my car.
I found it much harder to stay strong during the funeral the next day. Natalie called me early before we left to ask if I might step forward and say a few words when the time came. I wasn’t obligated to, but if I thought I could handle the task the family would love to have me speak. I’d been thinking about it for the last few days already and so I sat down at my word processor and typed up something that I hoped would be appropriate and short enough that I could get through it before I lost all composure. For those who weren’t able to attend the funeral I’d like to share what I wrote with you here:
- I’ve been thinking for the past few days on what I would say about Bill when the time came. On what words I might use to summarize what he meant to me. It was a lot harder than I thought it would be. The problem isn’t with coming up with something to say, but how to keep it to a reasonable length.
How do you compress 20 years of friendship into just a few words? How do you choose which good memories to touch upon when there are so many you could write a small novel? How do you express the loss that you feel when you are close to being consumed by it? For many of us here it would take days to do and we still wouldn’t feel we had covered everything we love about Bill.
Bill stuck with me when other friends would not. He was there when I was at my worst and he helped me to become a better person than I was. Not through any overt effort on his part, but by being a friend and doing the things a true friend should. This is probably the greatest gift I could ever have gotten from him. I love Bill like a brother. The loss I feel in his passing is too great to put into words.