The thing that always surprises me the most about all the funerals I have attended is the amount of laughter that occurs. Sometimes the laughter is forced, but it is laughter nonetheless. You grieve and you wail, but in the intermittent periods you remember and sometimes the memory forces you to laugh. Sometimes it hurts so much to laugh at such tragic times, but it hurts worse not to laugh.
Tori, Candace, Adam, and Singleton have all written beautiful and true words about our first Sunday back in our building since the accident. Terri Jo Ryan over at the Trib also wrote a good article about our return.
For me, everything that was written by these fine folks resonated in my heart, but I also had this feeling throughout the entire service that I was experiencing Kyle's funeral all over again. We had an emotion filled service then we ate and caught up with each other. I went back to the checkered room because Avery didn't have anyone to sit with her, but once her friend Annie came in I was forgotten and left sitting on the floor, back against the wall, and I felt the glazed look that comes over my eyes when I realize how good things are in the world but don't feel right celebrating it.
The only word I can find to describe Don's sermon to us is perfect. Not perfect in the sense that it was flawless or even that it was eloquent or enjoyable. It was anything but enjoyable, but it was perfect. It perfectly described our situation, or dilemma, or hope, and our ache. In fact, his use of the word ache made me realize how perfect the sound of the word describes what the word means. When he would say the word ache my whole body would, ache.
And this is the feeling I've felt for the past few days. Sometimes I ache too much to laugh, but I ache too much not to laugh as well. I thought I had said my goodbyes and made peace and was ready to move forward but I realized yesterday this lasts a bit longer than I suspected. There have been times lately when I have smiled those hard, rugged smiles that hurts your cheeks but I still feel like they are the smiles of someone at a funeral. The joy is fleeting, but it is there. In the midst of my laughter I know I'll soon turn my head, look down and remember.
But forced, fleeting laugher is better than no laughter at all and for this we can rejoice. We have not been abandoned.
Tonight Sutton asked what his daddy looks like in heaven. Jen told him she doesn't know, but she does know we'll recognize him when we get there.
I, for one, can't wait. Then the laughter will not be intermittent but will be ever swelling, building to a crescendo of epic proportions, and the only ache that will be felt is the ache of joy.