Friday, February 22, 2008

The introspection of mourning

I suppose death makes most of us a little thoughtful, and I have spent the last few weeks, as my ex's father battled cancer for a short while and then passed, thinking of the nearly four years that I was a part of their family. I was a problem relative, to say the least... Perceived as a bad influence on my ex (not the first time I had been accused of that but one of the few times I didn't think it was true), I defended myself through gruffness and sarcasm. I was young; they were protective. I suppose we were all doing what we had to do.

At the lunch, I stood for a while with my ex and the two friends we spent all of our time with, a couple we traveled with, rang in the New Year with, called whenever we happened to be heading out to dinner. It was a strange kind of deja vu, so familiar and yet so alien... one of those moments where it seemed like both yesterday and a lifetime since the four of us stood around together... comfortable but terribly, terribly uncomfortable at the same time.

After all, what is the role of an ex in that situation? I wanted to be useful and comforting but after more than six years apart, that's long since stopped being my job... that's not even within my skill set anymore. I barely had a grasp on how to do that when we were a couple...

The broken heart I sustained at the end of that relationship has long since flaked away, aided in large part by Rob whose very presence in my life has shown me that I was wrong to think major compromise - who I am, what I want from a partner, what I want from my life - is an integral part of a long-term relationship. In it's place, I'm glad to have an amazing marriage, and a friendship with my ex, fueled by the memory of the qualities I loved about her... her awkwardness and sincerity and basic goodness.

The funeral ended with the playing of Dream a Little Dream, which took on a whole new meaning in the Hanes Lineberry chapel:

Say "nighty night" and kiss me
just hold me tight and tell me
you'll miss me.
While I'm alone and blue as can be
Dream a little dream of me.
Stars fading
but I linger on
still craving your kiss
I'm longing to linger til dawn, dear

I don't have any real beliefs in heaven and hell, but I hope that his wife was right when she imagined him sailing to the shores of heaven, greeted by his and her parents who promptly poured him a Maker's Mark. Surely, they serve Maker's Mark in heaven? I'll add that I hope his heaven plays really good music, with a healthy dose of Jonny Lang on the juke box.

Nighty, night, George. You worked hard and played hard; you were funny and irreverent and a hell of a wheeler-and-dealer. You lived life fully and in the process touched the lives of a lot of people. You will truly be missed.


Billy Jones said...

Not meaning to be a smart*** but this is definately above my pay grade.

Sarah Beth Jones said...

Say what?