Whether it is a wake or sitting shiva or something else where family and friends gather to mourn the beloved dead, before or after the formal funeral or memorial services, they all have things in common.  People gather to talk and grieve and laugh and love.  To eat and drink and support each other.

I've been to many, and I am certain sure going to be going to many more.  As family, as friend, as supporter, as mourner, to pay my respects and laugh and cry.

I've buried all my grandparents, and most of my great uncles and aunts.  I've buried cousins and friends and neighbors.  This is not surprising.  Everyone is always moving forward toward a certain end point - the only surprise is if it comes sooner rather than later.  My first memory of death is from when I was a junior in high school.  One of the young men in my brother's class died the weekend before he was to graduate from high school.  It was a heck of a beginning to the summer.  I had a graduating class of 147 - three of which I know for certain have passed away - two from cancer, one unclear.

Tonight's grieving ritual was not unexpected - he'd been battling cancer for three and half years, and had been declining slowly but steadily. His daughters and their families were here for at least his last week, and they are there to support their mother now as she tries to navigate life after.  After she lost her partner and lover and husband for the last forty years.

Of the two of them, I knew her first.  But he was always her biggest supporter and fan, and he was always there in the background, a quiet man with a wonderful sense of humor and they turned to each other as if in the other they found their sun.

I will miss him.

RIP JLG 1945-2013


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