Grief Brings Out The Best In People

9 08 2008

I sat in the Fellowship Hall of a small, country church. I didn’t talk to anyone although there were some pretty well-known Tennessee politicians in attendance, friends I went to high school with and a family I’ve known for what seems forever. They attended my mother’s funeral 10 years ago.

I didn’t want to talk. I wanted to just be.

I focused on Homer. Her hair is thick and chocolate brown and her eyes smile and cry. She’s one of those people that you can tell her state of mind by looking in her beautiful eyes. They were sad today. She had her own demons to slay. I had mine. Being with her made it safe.

Mark Maddox spoke first and what began as a speech from a veteran public speaker was filled with a cracked and ailing voice by the end of his eulogy. When I heard him speak, I found myself going back in time when he gave the eulogy at my mother’s funeral. When his voice cracked, I found myself unexpectedly tearing up for many things.

The loss of his brother. The fact that I was with people my age who were grandparents. The sad and strong look on Homer’s face. When she asked for a tissue, I didn’t have one. I felt that I had failed.

His brother spoke. The same thing. A seasoned public speaker who works as a minister. His voice broke. I looked out of the doors of the window as he stopped, his words and tears so evident.

We couldn’t see them speak. We could just hear. I don’t know what would have been worse.

The final speaker was the minister of this country church. He spoke about the standard affairs of a funeral. He talked of salvation.

This is my second funeral in three weeks of people I grew up with. We drove our cars fast, hid out on back roads talking about our future and drank beer bought by those a couple of years older than us in corn fields still smelling of a fresh harvest. We were going to take on the world. We wanted to own it.

We were, and are, a lost generation sandwiched in between the boomers and Generation X.

We didn’t expect to die, but we will. We thought that the world of MTV would define us. We thought we owned our generation. Some of us, some of us didn’t. Some of us wanted more. Some of us were content. Some of us wanted the stars, like my friend Stew.

I look to the future. I see the possibilities.

I mourn my friends’ losses. I mourn mine.

I wish to do a thousand things before I say goodbye.

I watched Homer and thought how lucky I am to be loved.

As Tommy Maddox was.

With this said, I wish Karsten my best.

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5 responses

9 08 2008
Russ

‘Coma, this beautiful.

10 08 2008
Scout

Yep, that’s my church. Bet it was loaded to the gills with people.

10 08 2008
newscoma

It was pretty much packed.

10 08 2008
Kate O'

Karsten and I both thank you for your kind wishes and sympathy. You have more than enough mourning of your own; it’s generous of you, and typical, to be compassionate about someone else’s.

10 08 2008
In Remembrance Of Tommy Maddox : Post Politics: Political News and Views in Tennessee

[…] Newscoma shares her experience at the funeral of Rep. Mark Maddox’s brother, Tommy: I sat in the Fellowship Hall of a small, country church. I didn’t talk to anyone although there were some pretty well-known Tennessee politicians in attendance, friends I went to high school with and a family I’ve known for what seems forever. They attended my mother’s funeral 10 years ago. […]

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