Archive for the 'eulogies' Category

Dying reverberations

August 2, 2011

I don’t know what this means (I’m sure there’s somebody else who does), but this morning I started reading a newsletter email sent to me as a subscriber of The New York Times, and I read this and thought it was a hoot:

Willy is a wonderful reporter, a genius at cultivating cops and courts sources. But he shouldn’t be allowed to drive.

At the memorial service for my deceased husband, whom I knew as Willy, when the first colleague of his who spoke mentioned how terrified he was to get in a car with Willy driving, I thought, “Oh that’s interesting, I never noticed, and I basically abdicated the driving to Willy during the time we were together because he liked to and I don’t.”

So when the second colleague mentioned the same (the rest of these remembrances varied, maybe one or two other themes in common, but these speeches did not seem to have been orchestrated), I took notice.

Well, all of his colleagues mentioned his driving was terrifying.  (Okay, he drove fast, but he was accurate.  No accidents.)  It was one of the things I took away from the service, that we don’t know our family members as others know them.  (I also learned this from meeting all the people who asked where he was when they realized I had become the large light poodle’s regular dog walker.)

So Willy’s driving got lodged in my head as connected to a learning experience.  (It also more recently came into my mind when I met someone I felt a connection to that I couldn’t quite explain, and I remembered that when Willy first walked me out to his car, a 1973 Chevy Impala wagon — they were huge, we called it his boat — I think I blurted out to him — I know I thought it — “Do you have a wife and three kids I should know about?”  He didn’t.  I couldn’t figure out why a single young man would be driving something so big, but it turned out it was the custom in his family to drive big cars for safety considerations.)  When I read this impersonal newsletter bit to the same effect about someone with the same name whose driving colleagues found terrifying, I thought, “This is great, like hearing a song that brings back a memory.”  I also thought how it feels like experiencing the same thing again but from a seat in the audience rather than while on stage as a participant.  But I’m not sure what the significance of it is, what it means to experience that change in perspective.  If I had more orthodox spiritual training, I suspect I would.