I attended a Wake Thursday, only we don’t call them that any more.
In the coffin was a 32-year-old man-boy. In line as one approached mother and step-father, were scrapbook pictures of his younger versions, beaming with delight at 4th of July sparklers and other such simple pleasures. He “enjoyed listening to music, watching movies, and sharing his contagious joy. He fought the good fight and is awaiting his crown of glory.”
In the coffin was a bearer of the image of God, knees pulled up, wrists permanently bent, teeth crooked, face oddly shaped. Oh, my! I’d forgotten in the years since I last saw him.
He was born on April Fools Day. His syndrome has a dozen sufferers, maybe, world-wide. I don’t know the name. I couldn’t look it up on Google if I did, probably. Who writes about a disease that afflicts only a dozen people or so in the world at a time?
If I want to know about it, we’d better take mom and step-dad to dinner; she’s the world expert. The life expectancy from birth is two years. Did I mention that the man-boy in the coffin was 32?
Step-dad married mom 20 years ago, eyes wide open. She’d have it no other way. Her first husband, her son’s father, headed for divorce court, then “for the hills,” about 31 years, 364 days ago. May God have mercy on him anyway.
Caring for her son was the dominant feature of their lives. Step-dad’s grieving with mom.
Mom’s a teacher. The Middle Schoolers from her school came and sang at the funeral. They returned to school shaken. Some of them had never been to a funeral. Many of them, probably, had never met teacher’s son. If the image of God, twisted and angular, shocked this jaded old curmudgeon, I reckon it was a real eye-opener for them.
Mom and step-dad can’t sleep. The house is too quiet. The life-supporting machinery is off. This respiratory infection, starting like all the others, ended quickly in death despite treatment.
God bless and comfort them. May they have, for their remaining lives and into eternity, all the blessings none of us deserve, but some of us don’t deserve a lot less than others.
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