Death and Funerals and Places I Thought I’d Never Go Again

My aunt died. I mentioned it on Facebook, like asking for people to send energy into the universe for her family who are probably really sad right now. When my dad called and we talked about it, I have to admit that it never occurred to me to check with him about how he was doing. What the hell is wrong with me?

So anyway, I guess he’s fine. And I’m fine, and everyone will be fine except probably her kids and her husband. Yeah? It’s weird when people die. I’m breaking my personal policy against funerals in order to attend this one because my cousins are so young and I love them, and the first time I held hands with a boy was at a fall festival when I was visiting them. I saw The Blue Lagoon at their house, and listened to Michael Jackson for the first time while I was visiting them.

I’m sure I’ll cry, or worse, laugh in appropriately at the funeral even though I don’t really feel anything other than nostalgia about spending time in Augusta at my aunt’s house. I’ve been reading about eidetic memory lately. I don’t really have that, but what I do have is perfect recall for certain things-not every thing, just a few things. I can remember exactly where my aunt was sitting and who was there, the context, lighting and what we ate and what she was drinking and the cup she was using when she said “We are setting them up to lie!” Except she was so southern she said “Laaah”- she was talking about welfare recipients and the larger discussion was about welfare reform during the Clinton Administration. This was after Christmas one year, a late night decompression coffee talk around the hexagonal white tile topped table my grandmother had near the front door at the log cabin. My aunts and grandmother would often drink coffee at that table after they did the dishes at the end of a family meal.

I remember the pitch of her voice and every single detail of the room when she uttered that sentence, but that’s the only sentence I remember from the conversation. So weird. My own freakish mutation of eidetic memory. Throughout the years, whenever I’ve thought of my Aunt Brenda, her voice comes back to me in perfect recall because I can bring back that moment in time.

So we’ll go to her funeral tomorrow, and miss the viewing, thankfully. We’ll attend a service at the church where as a kid I used to wish we could sit a little further back so that I could fall asleep less conspicuously-and hopefully I’ll say the right things or at least refrain from saying the wrong things.


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