Mark Meltdown

May 7, 2007

 I had a very emotional weekend. Hospice hosted a Candlelight Celebration of Remembrance on Sunday at the Samuel F.B. Morse estate, Locust Grove. I went with my cousin, who lost her father about a month before my brother, Mark, died.

It was suggested that we bring a photo for the memorial tables. I went through photographs on Saturday, looking for the one I wanted to bring. This activity caused such a convulsion of grief, I was reduced to a sobbing, heartbroken wreck. In retrospect, it’s probably a good thing I got some of it out on Saturday, or I wouldn’t have been able to handle the ceremony on Sunday. It was lovely, but very painful.

The young woman sitting next to me was so grief-stricken, my own aching heart overflowed with compassion for her. At one point, I reached out and touched her arm. She lifted her red-rimmed eyes to mine, and gave me a shaky smile. It was then that I realized what this ceremony was all about – being there for each other in our time of need.

During the Litany of Remembrance, the names of our loved ones were read, and each of us walked up to the front of the room, where we were given one of these:

I couldn’t get a good picture of it, but it says: “Plant this butterfly in your garden and wildflowers will blossom year after year in memory of your loved one.”

The songs really got to me. Two women sang You’ll Never Walk Alone, from Carousel, and Candle on the Water, from Pete’s Dragon. But, it was the first song, By My Side, from Godspell, that did me in.

Where are you going, where are you going?
Will you take me with you?
For my hand is cold and needs warmth
Where are you going?
Far beyond where the horizon lies
Where the horizon lies
And the land sinks into mellow blueness
Oh please take me with you
Let me skip the road with you
I can dare myself, I can dare myself
I’ll put a pebble in my shoe
And watch me walk,
I can walk and walk
I shall call the pebble Dare
I shall call the pebble Dare
We will talk together about walking
We will talk
Dare shall be carried and when we both have had enough
I will take him from my shoe,
singing, “Meet your new road”
Then I’ll take your hand
Finally glad that you are here
Finally glad
By my side
By my side
By my side
By my side
By my side
That you are here by my side.

My cousin and I cried our hearts out through the entire song.

One more thing. About a month after Mark died, I was standing at the bathroom sink, brushing my teeth, when I suddenly had a vision of Mark and my uncle playing golf together. I told my cousin about that yesterday, and she loved the idea of her father and my brother being together. After the ceremony was over, she and I went into the gift shop. I walked over to a card rack, and plucked a card from its holder. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I looked at it and saw a golf ball. I felt like I had hit a hole in one.

Song of the Day: By My Side from Godspell

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