Thursday, 6 December 2012

A Beautiful Love

I attended a funeral not long ago. I have to say, it was the most difficult of the few funerals that I've been to. The person's life who we were jointly mourning and celebrating wasn't that old – just two years older than me – and was healthy. His death was shocking and unexpected. It left many people, including a bus full for children (two of which are my own, as he was their bus driver), in a state of not understanding.

Jeff was my friend Tim's husband. I attended their wedding in July. When you attend a wedding in July, the last thing you expect to be doing is burying one of them in November, but that is exactly what we did. Many of us who had celebrated the joy of Tim and Jeff's wedding gathered once again to help Tim with his monumental loss.

I admit I did not know Jeff well, and after listening to stories about him that is something I will regret. The times I did talk to him, it was obvious how shy he was around those he did not know. But I've known Tim for quite some time, though I think he's known me longer than I've known him. For me, here, it seems that way with a lot of people. I was honoured when they invited me to their wedding. I was also so proud of them – we live in a community where difference is not always celebrated, and often not even accepted. While as our community becomes more diverse, and while slowly but surely differences are accepted and celebrated, I was still so proud of Tim and Jeff for getting married here, no matter what others might have said.

I remember watching Tim and Jeff at their wedding and thinking that they were so, so lucky. The way they looked at each other, as if there was no one else in the world, was the way in which I wish someone would look at me. This look of pure, true, love. It isn't often that you see that look. Sometimes you see shreds of it between people, but it's that rare look that you know when you see it, but is so hard to describe. The love between them was almost tangible. They and their doggy children were and are so loved by so many. I admit, at the time, there was a tiny part of me that was jealous of their happiness when sometimes it seems so far out of reach in my life, though a very tiny part.

And then, four and a half months later, we sat in a church, so close yet so far from that park where they got married, heart-broken as we listened to a friend, a sister, a brother, and then finally Tim speak of the man they loved and would forever miss. There were so many tears – for our joint loss, for Jeff's family, for Tim's family, but most of all for Tim. Our hearts' broke over and over again as we watched Tim during the funeral, and then finally when Tim placed Jeff ashes in their final resting place.

I spend a part of every day now, thinking about Tim and praying for him to make it through to the other side of this tragedy, as, there is, with everything, another side – the side where you do not get over it and never will, but learn to live with it. He is surrounded by family and friends who truly love him, and loved Jeff just as much. While I barely knew Jeff, I loved him because I love Tim, and I wanted (and want) for Tim the same thing I want for all my friends – for them to be happy. Jeff made Tim happy, and for that I loved him. I am thankful that Tim shared Jeff with us. That they shared their wedding with us. And that they let each and every one of us know what it was like to see that true, unadultered love that we all wish for.

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