It’s the day of my friend’s funeral.

I’ve been thinking of his ten-year-old son, the same age as my own Elderbeast. I’ve been thinking about his ex-wife, and of her having to explain to her son what happened. (I’ve had some daunting conversations with my kinderbeasts in recent months, but nothing on this scale.) I think of his parents, attending their child’s funeral; something no parent should ever have to do.

I reflect that, thankfully, I haven’t been to many funerals. The last one, two decades ago, was for my own mother. The day passed in a blur, even though I remember almost every detail. Back then, I held it together until they carried the coffin in. I wonder if I’ll hold it together or not today. It’s not my own grief that typically gets me; it’s witnessing the grieving of others.

And, once again, I think of my friend’s family.

The service is well attended. There are a handful of people from work. I see my friend’s son and his mother; we hug and say hello briefly. I’m not able to say much more. There are many people I don’t know. I’m glad that so many people have come to remember him, but sad that he perhaps forgot how loved he was in life. Or maybe we forgot.

The service is perfect. It reminds us to celebrate his life, not to regret that we couldn’t prevent his passing. I take a lot of comfort from everything that’s said. I’m surprised when my tears come at the end, but in the end they’re tears that mourn the friend I had the joy of knowing.

I’ll leave you with a poem that was read during the service, which says everything that could possibly be said.

Safe Harbour
by Jennifer Hickok

The storm has been raging for so long now
Pouring rain, crashing thunder, howling wind
Beating down on this lonely ship
Searching for a place to call home

There was a time; it seems so long ago
The sun shone brightly in the clear blue sky
Looking up from the bow into forever
A gentle breeze, cotton candy clouds

But the storm slowly moved in
A few scattered showers and thunderstorms
Days of downpour, flashes of lightning
With shelter so hard to find

Rainbows still shone, beacons of hope
In the unlikeliest places
Vibrant against a backdrop of gray
A glimpse at the best of times

As the years passed by
The storms changed, getting worse
Getting better, and fading away
But they’d left their mark

A vessel is forever changed
When touched that way
And although you can rebuild
The damage has been done

Horrible storms had been forecast
For the not so distant future
But they wouldn’t hit this ship
Not again, no more damage would be done

The ship will be protected now
Lost no more, tossed about no longer
Safe in a harbor to forever call home