Thursday, June 4, 2009

'Tis the Day

My lovely bride, her Dad, her big brother Frank and all of the rest of us who had the pleasure and privilege of knowing Suzy B. shall gather today for one of the starkest, saddest events on the social calendar. While tomorrow shall be the funeral mass, which brings with it its own mine field of emotions to successfully negotiate, this day shall be spent in survival mode.

For two separate two hour sessions today, people shall come to pay their respects at the "visitation". Once upon a time - when I was a child - the visitation was known as the wake or the viewing. Apparently, at a point in time when I was distracted by other events, the event underwent a name change - no doubt as part of the ceaseless effort to make America a kinder, gentler place. The change of name makes the event seem more benign I suppose. Who does not enjoy a nice visit, right? From far away it may seem as if it is a nice get-together. But it is not of course. The neutral nature of the name belies the emotional impact of the event. It, however, does little to blunt it.

There shall be several hundred well-wishers who shall pass through the halls of the funeral home today, whether they come for the afternoon session, the evening session or both. While all of them shall mean well and all shall afford a measure of comfort to Margaret, Joe, Frank and the rest of us - all of them wish they were spending the portion of their day that they shall spend at the funeral home somewhere else. Those to whom the good wishes are being extended share that sentiment. What brings us together is love. What binds us together is the tremendous sense of loss all who knew and loved her feel now and shall continue to feel for an indeterminate amount of time.

We gather together on this dark day hoping against hope that in unison we shall find the strength to deal with that which alone scares the hell out of us. We gather together on this dark day hoping against hope for a little magic in these early days of June. And none is coming. And while we know that to be the case, it does not keep us from believing in the elixir of hope.

It has been said that hope springs eternal in the hearts of fools. Whether that is true, I know not. I do know that on "visitation" day, hope springs eternal in the hearts of all of us. While we long for Professor Peabody to crank up the "way back" machine and take us back to a more pain free place - knowing that he cannot, we hope that the one we love, from whom we are about to be separated physically forever, knew all that she meant to us, knew how profoundly we all loved her and shall continue to love her and knows that we shall continue to do all we can to honor her life, her legacy and her memory.

We gather today on this dreadful day imbued with the knowledge that in numbers there is strength. We do what we must for Suzanne Bozzomo because she earned it - every day. And on this terrible day, we set aside whatever fear pulsates inside of us to honor her. Ambrose Redmoon, writing about courage, wrote, "Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear."

And today, something most certainly is.


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