A Day at the Funeral
Yesterday seemed like an eternity. I went to my great aunts funeral.
I woke up at 6:30a.m., which hasnt happened in a very long time, but I dont think that is the reason. I get on the train to go meet my mother and brother under the clock at Grand Central Station. On my way to meet them, I find myself standing in an over-crowded train full of people about to start their grey everyday. During the entire ride, I stand thinking to myself, Im going to a funeral today over and over in my mind. Somehow this gives me a sense of contentment.
We meet at the station and board a train headed for Yonkers. When we arrive at the Ludlow station we start to walk around my mothers old neighborhood. She tells my brother and I how she would spend summers up there every year as a child. She shows us where she did what and we saw buildings that were no longer standing. Hearing the stories and seeing the urban decay around us is as if Mother Nature knows why we are there. We eventually make our way to the church, arriving early for the service.
Soon afterward people file in, followed by a coffin, and the mass begins. I sit in the church and observe a rotation of familiar and unfamiliar people cry. Their cries are a release of their pain that drifts up into the stale air of the church, all for the love of my great aunt.
The emotions in the church are visible to me and I feel my over-exhausted body absorb them. It is as though the pain leaving the mourners, has nowhere to go but in me. After the mass we move to the grave sight and then off to a delicious Italian lunch. Seems bizarre to be hungry, but I am. I had farfalli with chicken and broccoli; it was delicious. After lunch, my mother and I say our goodbyes and I head back to the city. I arrive completely exhausted, with nothing to do. I decide to go to school and talk to my professor. I missed his class that day and thought I would pick up some art supplies on my way to see him. The time I spend at school is a foggy memory, although seemingly unpleasant. The other students are finishing class, cleaning up their stations, walking back and forth, fully absorbed in their day. This is too much stimulation for my already full heart and brain, so I leave school and head home.
On my walk home I phone a friend to let her know I will not be able to meet with her tonight. She asks if I am okay, and of course I say yes, eluding the fact that I dont know how I really feel. She says, It sounds as though you just got in a fight with someone? How could she know that?
As a matter of fact, I did get into an argument with someone at school. How did she sense that over the phone? Was she inside my feelings? This is not the first time she has done this. I repeat these questions over and over in my mind until I reached my bedroom. When I closed the door it was as though that click of the door was turning on, in full force, all the emotions of the day and I begin to cry uncontrollably. The pain was so strong and intense I had no strength to stand and I fall over on my bed. I keep repeating out loud that I was in pain as though this would absolve me of it. I start to feel weak and worthless as though I didnt matter to anyone. There is no other emotion pulling me out of this. With the tears still wet on my face I decide to paint. Thirty minutes later I finish a painting. This work openly expresses my pain from that morning. It feels so good to be open, simple. From my vent, I take the complexity of pain and reduced it to simple words I am in pain! My release is raw and universal and it feels good. The pain from everyone in the church is encompassed in my painting. I have somehow absorbed all the emotions that day and it is too powerful for me to hold. I break down and release it. The rest of my night is pretty uneventful, considering the day that unfolded before it. I meet my mother and my brother again, but for dinner this time. We gorge ourselves with food and then I go home and sleep peacefully.