Actually, that was the title of a song we played one year in, of all places, high school marching band. I don’t remember many of the songs we played, but that title stood out. At fifteen (wow, the age my own eldest child is now) the idea of a funeral for a friend seemed surreal. It made me think of people my own age dying, and that seemed both possile and impossible at once. It conjured images of funerals with empty caskets, because who on earth would be in there at fifteen.
Of course, now I’ve gone to a few funerals for friends, but always older friends. One person who was a college classmate died, but she was far away and I never considered her a close friend when we were in school.
All this is the roundabout way of saying, a friend from middle school and high school died tonight. We were the same age… six of us who moved together from middle school through graduation (with the exception of one who joined us in high school), we thought ourselves inseparable. One of them wrote in my senior yearbook “they say college friends are the best friends you’ll ever have, but I can’t think of any better than you all are.”
The person who wrote that didn’t keep in touch in college, but in recent years she’s returned to my closest circle of friends.
Another friend disappeared halfway through college and only comes back when she wants money, which I don’t give her and she disappears again.
I was a bridesmaid for another one of them, but lost touch within a year after her wedding and haven’t heard from her since. Its been seventeen years and I do miss her.
Another lost touch for years but we re-found one another on Facebook. I’m glad we did, we have a lot in common.
And she re-introduced me (also on Facebook) to the sixth, with whom I’d lost touch. We talked on the phone some after that, but not face to face. Still, I’m thankful, without the little gift of modern communications, I’d have never known what became of her and I’d have never heard that she passed away tonight.
We used to talk about “deep thoughts” that gaggle of six girls… Carliea wanted to live until the End Times and see Christ return. The rest of us thought that sounded a bit intense for our tastes. Now we’re still here and she’s gone. Carliea’s church taught that the soul “sleeps” until the end times. Clearly not consistent with orthodox Christianity but not a matter of salvation either. Now she’s awake and alive indeed with Christ.
It still seems surreal, a funeral for a friend. I don’t know if that feeling goes away as we get older. But I don’t know that she’s the one I’d have picked to be the first of the six to go.
Ah well. Rest in peace… “Walter.”