Friday, September 23, 2005
Let's talk it over
by Frances Potts
Writing a newspaper column is kind of like going through psychoanalysis. At least, for me, it is.
If some niggling thought has taken up sticky residence in my brain, the only way I seem able to jar it loose is to write about it.
Personal columns have also helped me unload a ton of grief when ones dear to me have left this world for a better place. I have rejoiced with them as they walked through that mysterious door that opens only one way, but the sorrow left behind is sometimes difficult to sort through.
This year I have had to go through that process of saying a final good-bye to three relatives. It was especially difficult because no one in my immediate family was close to these relatives. Only I had ties to them-long, strong ties-so there was no one nearby to share with me the memories that made these people so dear.
At their own wishes, no services were held for two of them, so they just disappeared without any fanfare. I guess I wanted there to be a brass band playing "When the Saints Come Marching In" or at least a cheering squad who knew and loved these people that I knew and loved. There wasn't even anyone for me to sit down with over a cup of coffee and reminisce.
It was different at my grandmother's funeral. A great bunch of relatives gathered to swap stories, laugh at our memories of her dressed in outlandish outfits for her Eagle Auxiliary costume parties and shed a few unembarrassed tears on one another's shoulders, if we needed to.
Come to think of it, some of those shoulders belonged to the relatives who died this year.
Maybe it's just because I'm growing older that the funeral gatherings are growing smaller-fewer of us around. At least, fewer that remember the days our extended family gathered at the river for Sunday picnics, sat around on the floor playing craps, pinochle or Monopoly, or lying out under an August midnight sky to watch a shower of falling stars.
Damn, but those were good days! And I wish I'd had someone to talk 'em over with this past spring when that old guy with his scythe cut a big swath through my life.