Why Couldn’t It Have ALL Been After Party?


Yesterday was awful. Excruciating even.

I was a zombie at the church before the service…setting up for your Shiner/Bratwurst party… Couldn’t function. Could barely walk by the mini shrine of sunflowers, golf balls, and Shiner in the entry way. I just sat and stared at the deep gray sky outside the window, wishing you would walk through the door and give me an instruction or that I’d round the corner and you’d be sitting in your office chair…

They picked the coldest, windiest day for your funeral. I was looking for you in the sanctuary so I’d know how to approach you. I was looking so intently that I didn’t see you…right.in.front.of.me. I only caught a glimpse of the edge of the casket before I realized it was you and I saw the lines of gray in your skin and I stopped…and abruptly moved backwards in fear. And B caught me…and I cried like it was the first time I’d been told you were gone. I couldn’t get any closer. I froze.

I emerged briefly and out of the corner of my eye I saw your daughter running full force at me…she hugged me for so long, PJ…and she’s not a hugger. We just stood there together for a bit. I could tell that it hurt her to look at me…she sees our friendship when she sees me…she feels how much we have both lost. Her only word to describe this was “weird”…I couldn’t come up with anything better or different so I agreed. I love her so much. She is your creation, your counterpart…and in her eyes, I see you.

I listened as people eulogized you…and the bishop (your favorite person 😉 spoke his scripted words and I wondered if you hated it. They sang the communion song…it was terrible. I kept hearing your voice nestled between the lines. When I filed to the front for communion, I brushed the edge of your casket with my fingers…did you feel it? I wanted to say goodbye in some subtle way…

By the way, Lutherans conduct the longest damn funerals ever. EVER.

Your after party wasn’t really a party. They showed the slide show of all these pictures of your last 53 years. You were a handsome little devil. I must say, I dig the BeeGees hair. They showed the pictures of us from your daughter’s graduation party.

And so it begins…this new life without you…how I wish I still had your words of wisdom, your dry sense of humor to carry me through the rough patches.

I miss you.


Dear PJ

I keep thinking about the Holden Evening Prayer Service and this one particular song you used sing the echo to…

“Let my prayer rise up like incense before you…the lifting up of my hands as an offering to you…”

It was my favorite part of Advent…and now I wonder who will be singing it. It won’t be the same.

Advent, this peaceful, quiet, holy, almost mournful time of year…seems a bit appropriate now. So hard to fathom experiencing this, the turning of the season, Christmas…and everything else without you.

So what now? How do I sing this song…when all I hear in my head is your voice…

How am I going to walk into that church and not see you walking around the corner or sitting in your chair at your desk and not feel a gaping hole in my chest?

Wherever you are, I hope that you know/feel/see how much we all loved you and how much your actions enhanced our lives.

“O God, I call to you, come to me now; O hear my voice when I cry to you…”