I made it to Virginia on Thursday evening. As it turns out, traveling without a three-year-old is a hundred million times easier than traveling with one. You know I got mad love (as Randy would say) for my daughter, but . . .
I had a layover in Detroit. I had well over an hour to kill, so I walked (and walked and walked) to my gate so that I could find an eatery nearby. Each time I passed a flight monitor, I checked and confirmed that I was headed the right way. Yep, Washington-Dulles at Gate 76. I found my gate and then headed to a Mexican joint just a few yards away. I had eaten only an Easter egg for lunch (we have been eating them at an accelerated pace because somebody threw an egg into the bowl and caused all of the decorated eggs to be afflicted with hairline fractures), so I was pretty hungry. I ordered some nachos and a glass of Pinot Grigio. My flight was boarding at 5:01 so I paid my tab just before 5 and headed out. Okay, yes, I did have a second glass before that if you really must know, but I don't know why you have to be all up in my bidness like that.
I walked into the terminal and checked the monitor again just to make sure I was in the right place at the right time. I stared at the screen in disbelief. My flight had been moved to Gate 19. 76 minus 19 equals 57. 57 gates equals . . . a really long distance. Now, I don't think I am hopelessly out of shape, but I do have asthma. My lungs and I have a standing agreement that I am not to break into a full-bore run with no warning like that. But sprint I did. If I had had the kid with me, I would've been a goner. I was the second to last person to make it onto the plane.
On Friday morning I headed to the funeral. Good ol' Northern Virginia. It took me nearly an hour to travel the short distance from Centreville to the church in Vienna. 66 was backed up for miles. But, I used to live here so I knew to leave early. I arrived at the church with ten minutes to spare and found some old friends from high school. I settled into a pew with them and then wondered how long I would last without crying. I also noticed that I seemed to be the only one not dressed in black. I wore a white blouse and navy pants. Honestly, I don't think Kevin would have expected or wanted me to wear black. I decided I was okay with sticking out a little. I think he would have made fun of me either way.
The funeral was a Catholic service. I kept thinking that Kevin would have rolled his eyes at the goings-on, but then again funerals are for the living and not for the dead. I was able to keep my composure through most of the service, though I felt like the tears were on standby just behind my eyes. Much of the service was about carrying out religious rituals that weren't specific to Kevin, so I was able to keep from crying as long as they weren't talking about my friend in any concrete sort of way. I wondered if he was there. I willed him to come and sit next to me.
Following the funeral, there was an informal reception in an adjacent hall inside the church building. Several of Kevin's friends spoke. I had not volunteered to speak. Kevin's sister contacted me last Wednesday and told me that the family was touched by the blog entry I wrote and wanted permission to print it and post it at the funeral. I felt honored that they felt I had captured him in a resonant way. So, instead of speaking in front of the crowd (a skill I do not possess any day of the week), I decided to let my words stand on their own.
An old friend from high school invited a few of us back to his house, so I headed over there. There were perhaps ten people from our high school at the funeral. And I dated three of them. I mean, seriously, I did not remember being THAT busy back in the days before I met my husband. Criminy. It was great to see everyone, though, and it wasn't as awkward as I might have thought it would be.
The funeral left me feeling emotionally spent, yet happy that I came. It's still difficult to process Kevin's death at times. Part of me feels like I can send him a Christmas card this year like always, and some way, somehow . . . he'll receive it.