2 funerals, a wedding and a memorial gathering

Not quite the balance I’d like, but these events have shaped this month in my life.

Craig’s funeral was a private service on July 5th at a family friend’s home in Fallbrook. Many people stood and spoke, telling stories that ranged from the vulgar to the sublime. Other commitments that day did not allow for us to stay long, which was fine. I’d rather not go into any more details as this passing has not been easy to handle. I continue to wish Marcia, her kids, mother and all of Craig’s family strength as they mourn and find the will to keep moving on.

Then on July 18th, we learned that Han’s grandfather died in his sleep. This is the man we visited at Christmas last year and I was instantly grateful that we had made that trip. Herman was a great man. I got that even though I spent just a few days with him. And so there was a trip. To Missouri. And it was wonderful. There had been services for him in Georgia where he lived, and from all told, it was quite a moving and emotional spectacle. Flags at half-mast (he was a city councilman and the mayor pro-tem of the town), police and national guard lining the streets. Mary (Herman’s widow) received mourners for two hours after the service. The service for him in Mansfield, where he was born and raised, was equally moving. A graveside service with full military honors and a 21-gun salute by the American Legion. I will write in another post about our trip there, which filled me with great peace and tranquility.

But the day after learning of Herman’s death, there was the wedding. I certainly wasn’t in the most festive of spirits that day but I did my best. It was a beautiful wedding, but I can’t help but feel that it was perhaps not truly reflective of who Jenny is. But regardless, I hope it was what they wanted and that they are very happy together. Heather gave an amazing speech, as we all knew she would. But she was stressed about it up til she did it, so once she was done and ready to party, I was ready to leave. I felt bad, but there was nothing that could possibly get me on the dance floor, especially the tired, typical wedding reception songs. Although to their credit, I learned that Jenny & Brad did not request any of those songs.

And finally, last Sunday, there was a show held to honor Craig with a bunch of musicians and friends at one of our favorite spots. I was asked to read some poems, which I did. I was on near the start and I was glad for that because then I could relax and let myself enjoy being with my friends, even if the reason behind it was a sad one. The show lasted ’til about 10:30 pm, with Han’s Rock Band closing out the night. I’d had some beers and was looking at this event as the closure I’ve been seeking. I was looking at Han, Marcia, the lovely ladies who I’ve come to be close to in a new way this month, I was thinking of Herman and Missouri and the grief and exhaustion of this month, I was singing along to “Franklin’s Tower” and letting myself be in the moment. And I danced.

Franklin’s Tower
Lyrics: Robert Hunter, Music: Jerry Garcia, Bill Kreutzmann

In another time’s forgotten space
Your eyes looked through your mother’s face
Wildflower seed on the sand and stone
May the four winds blow you safely home

Chorus
Roll away the dew
Roll away the dew
Roll away the dew
Roll away the dew

I’ll tell you where the four winds dwell
In Franklin’s tower there hangs a bell
It can ring, turn night to day
It can ring like fire when you lose your way

[chorus]

God save the child who rings that bell
It may have one good ring, baby, you can’t tell
One watch by night, one watch by day
If you get confused, listen to the music play

[chorus]

Some come to laugh their past away
Some come to make it just one more day
Whichever way your pleasure tends
If you plant ice, you’re gonna harvest wind

[chorus]

In Franklin’s tower the four winds sleep
Like four lean hounds the lighthouse keep
Wildflower seed in the sand and wind
May the four winds blow you home again

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