Letters to Holly

Wednesday, October 29

Saying Goodbye

I took the day off Tuesday to drive down the mountain for Jared's funeral. I woke up to a note saying Your Sis could come along if the school granted her request to leave. It was blowing snow as we left town, and I was again dressed in my same black suit. It's now a formal uniform of sadness.

I got a call from another member of the "geek squad" Monday night asking if I was coming down and if I had a cloisonne pin to wear. About 20 years ago, comic companies began sprouting out into new marketing areas, and one of them were shiny, sturdy pins. I wore a number of them in high school, as did a great number of fellow fanboys. Of course I had a pin. I never threw them away.

We arrived much earlier than I expected, and we killed time strolling through a Barnes & Noble. It was a haunt for talking art and comics. We arrived at the funeral home around 2:20. We signed in and looked at some of Jared's artwork -- a painting, a drawing of his wife and baby, a Star Trek color drawing. People were assembled near the casket, and we made our way down. I hadn't seen any of them since Atlanta in early September.

I feel horrible for his wife, Chris. From what another friend said, Jared was virtually cancer-free. He had beaten it. The surgery next week was a formality, just to ensure the chemo had gotten it all. Jared awoke Saturday morning, had trouble breathing, and collapsed. It's possible the absence of chemo-related blood thinners had moved a clot. It was assumed the danger was all gone.

Jared was buried with one of his child's nightgowns and several Superman-related objects. He looked great. The cancer hadn't hit him nearly as hard as it had Dad. We spoke to his mom and our mutual friends. We hugged Chris, and I feared she was going to dissolve. She was ruined. Just ruined. Jared's friends served as active or honorary pallbearers. I was an honorary. We all wore pins for Jared.

A number of speakers eulogized him. His cousins referred to his work as an art teacher and his faith and intelligence and love for comic stories. One of the "squad" closed the service with references to Star Trek and quotes from Spock's funeral. The squad members who served as pallbearers recognized the material and shared smiles. Then a recording of bagpipes playing Amazing Grace began, and we walked outside and watched the casket go into the hearse.

We drove to the graveside, and a Superman sticker was put on his coffin. A few words were shared, and his Mom gathered his friends together to say thank you and goodbye to Jared. There was a dinner at their church, but we had to drive back home for rehearsal, and I'll post about that later.

Clearly, I have to prepare for this. I have to make funeral plans and get a physical. Mom commanded me to get a colonoscopy. I have to ask the lawyer where my copy of the will is; we talked to him about drafting it some months back. I have to make things easy for Your Sister if she finds herself in Chris's place. I don't know what I'll do if I find myself there.

Picture of the Day
I wore my Xavier Academy pin. I've had it for 17 years.

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