Time. When you’re younger, you can’t wait to grow up. When you get older you wish you were younger. When you have a presentation – you want it to be over before it begins. When you become a parent, you want time to stand still.
I attended a funeral yesterday for a man I did not know. Funerals only get harder as you get older. When I was young I lost my maternal grandpa and paternal grandma, I remember the rooms of sadness and hanging out with my siblings. You understand it’s not the time for yelling and running around or tugging on your mom’s dress for more cheerios. But at a young age, I remember being at the grave site for my Grandma. And as she was lowered to the ground – my dad gave me a hug and said “that’s my mom”. As I type this I’m wiping tears from my face. I’ll never forget that moment. And every funeral after – I remember – the person who is now gone was someone’s husband, wife, sister, brother ,mother, father, daughter, son, best friend, friend, acquaintance. Often times people attend for the ones who are left behind.
I didn’t know the man, but as I hugged his widow and daughter and saw his son break down in tears – you can’t help but cry for them and with them. I’ve lost all my grandparents and I was fortunate to have them all in my life whether it was for 10 years or 30 years, some don’t get any.
The funeral was in a small town in North Carolina – and the grave site was only a 5 mile drive. We were part of the processional – as we drove through red lights – I realized we couldn’t do this in a big city. As I told Russia this, he said – here you can run red lights and people stop to let the cars through. As he said this – I glanced at the other side of the road and saw all the cars stopped, some where pulled over and some were just stopped in their tracks. It was amazing and brought tears to my eyes. The entire drive from the church to the grave site – cars were stopped on both sides of the street to let us through. Some tipped their hats and others flashed their hazard lights in unity.
In a world that stares at a 5″ screen in their hand – conversations disappearing and communication limited to social media. There is still hope for the human race – in a nation divided by politics, immigration, hate, and fear, in a small town in North Carolina, people stop for a processional.