Being brave isn’t the absence of fear. Being brave is having that fear but finding a way through it. Bear Grylls
Experiencing loss in the time of Covid is complicated. Times like these require some amount of bravery, either conscious or unconscious, to keep going.
As does widowhood.
Contemplating bravery is a helpful tool in my journey as a widow.
The complication I am exploring today centers around Dan’s burial. They took my beloved’s body from my home in the wee hours of the morning on April 15, 2021, carefully and respectfully balancing his frame on a gurney….likely surprised at the muscle weight of a seventy-year-old man. We met him some weeks later at a funeral home in Beaumont where we showered him with yellow rose petals and sang him goodbye. Some days later, we returned to the funeral home and took possession of his ashes and since then he’s resided on a series of altars in our home….from a large Dia de los Muertos altar to a tiny table in the dining room where my favorite of his cowboy hats leans on the box that holds his earthly remains.
You’ve probably noticed there’s been no funeral.
During the Covid-19 Pandemic, the normal ways of doing things changed dramatically. If you went to the hospital, you had to go it alone. If you died, most burials (with some exceptions) had to be put on hold.
As a result, it is now our intention to have a public celebration of the life of Daniel Paul Neff on the first anniversary of his death. It is our hope that we can do so safely, amid a lingering pandemic, since Dan left behind a large, loving family with connections to a number of close-knit communities.
In my mind’s eye, I see us gathered on the lawn at Crestlawn Cemetery on April 16, 2022, sharing memories as we did when his father passed away some many years past.
The date of “the funeral” is just three swipes down on my calendar phone from today.
Ask any widow, or widower, and most will verify that there is a deeply private, personal grief carried amid the arrangements required for honoring a loved one’s life. A grief within the overall grief that can make a normally efficient person melt into fear and indecision.
Details of graveside flowers, music, photo boards, notifications, cemetery arrangements, contacting of family and friends, weather restrictions (be they hot or cold), gathering space, reception details of food and drink, pandemic protocols, and the overall awareness and sensitivity within the planning to do our best to honor the living as well as the dead.
Bravery’s sister–creativity–is my current best friend.
Dan will be buried in my favorite season – Spring.
A trick of the mind, perhaps, but using creativity to frame the tasks ahead brings a much needed energy to me, almost immediately. In other words, in a thousand different ways….things could be worse.