Sunday, January 30, 2011

Another Funeral

You can die in bits and pieces; you can die in one quick flash
Die the ancient voice of wisdom, or die early, young and brash
Tuck your body in a coffin; pick an urn to hold your ash
Your survivors will remember you and cry
In the stories of your childhood, of your young and reckless past
How you fiercely burned your candle—who could think it would not last?
You could live to be a hundred; it would still be gone too fast
Life is never seen so brief as when we die

This weekend's funeral was, again, beautiful, though again not so beautiful that I would not have wished it unnecessary.  I was moved more than I expected to be (this was not, after all, my brother this time), and was reminded once again that each life touches so many others, often in ways that are hidden from pretty much any witness.  

Strangely, I am also reminded of the mass graves--most recently in Brazil, following the mudslides, but elsewhere and elsewhen other disasters or wars--where entire communities have been lost, or where the necessities of safety and health mean that there will be no funeral, no memorial, no gathering of loved ones.  I really am one of the lucky ones, to be able to remember my family this way.

A last thought though--yes, I'm one of the lucky ones, but luckier still would be to push these funerals as far into the future as we can.  The local papers remind us that January's supplies of blood in the Red Cross banks are the lowest they have been in a decade.  Snowstorms keep people from blood drives, but they don't keep people from needing blood.  So, as I do on occasion, I remind you that, here in the US at least, you can find out about your local bloodmobiles at the Red Cross website.  Tell them Cuttlefish sent you.


Podblack said...

*hug* :(
I tried doing my bit for giving blood and fainted! :/ I do hope people start doing blood drives there, I don't know if there's some groups who could be encouraged?

Anna O'Connell said...

I'm a regular blood donor in memory of Robert Heinlien and now in support of a friend in remission with leukemia; the Red Cross vampires get a pint from me every 8 weeks. Because I'm O neg (universal donor type) they call to book an appointment as soon as I'm eligible to donate again. My next opportunity is late February.

Theophylact said...

Gave my 114th pint the first week in January, so I'm not eligible until early March.

My first blood donation was over 50 years ago at college. Shortly after that, my grandmother required 40 pints of blood as a result of surgery for colon cancer, and because of my donation in Massachusetts, the New York hospital didn't charge for the blood. Basically, I've been paying back (and forward) ever since, except for a hiatus when I lived in Canada.

For a while, I gave platelets, but the double-needle process stopped working with my elderly veins, so I just give whole blood (O+)these days.

Melissa said...

I'm sorry for your loss but glad the funeral service provided something positive emotionally.

Donating blood is something I haven't done in a while. I'll have to look up my local blood drives.

The Ridger, FCD said...

Unfortunately chemo renders you ineligible... but at least I used to

Cuttlefish said...

Yeah, but see, Ridger, you have now upped the ante for anyone else looking for an excuse not to give, AND have raised the emotional guilt factor of the plea for donations: "I wasn't gonna give, but Ridger was, if it were not for chemo...damn, sign me up for another pint!"