Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Suit

Had to put on the suit this morning.

Last night, decided to check in on FaceBook and just happened to see an update on a memorial page and backtracked and... yeah. The memorial that was postponed? This morning. So I put on the suit.

2016 has been a year already. We all (if you've spent time in this world) have the list. As we get older, it accelerates. The people we know get older, and the old die, eventually. The list grows.

Ron was a good man. He was the training sergeant when I was hired on. At different times he was my sergeant and my lieutenant and my Chief Deputy. He envisioned and formed the CERT team and I was on that from our first call-out. Of all the administrators, he was the one we trusted. It was a simple question, really-- given the choice between an underling dying and your career, what would you choose? Ron was one of the few that we really felt would sacrifice his career to save a life. I know that sounds simple and obvious, but spend a little time in any government agency and see how rare it is.

Lots of stories, but they belong to us. And they'll be shared between us, when the time is right. NPNBW, brothers.

The service was well done, but my radar wouldn't turn off. I noticed the significant negatives. Who didn't show. What was not said.

I hate funerals. I've been to too many, but that's a stupid thing to say since one would be too many. At the same time, memorials bring us together, people who are usually too busy to get together, to just say "hi" find the incentive when someone dies. And I appreciate reconnecting, but hate the reason.

The suit symbolizes that. I've been fortunate enough to work jobs where suits were a rarity and when a suit would normally be required, there was a Class A uniform. So the suit, to me, mean a funeral.

At least I couldn't smell any lilies.


Anonymous said...

A nice entry, Rory. I'm someone who feels (strangely?) appreciative for the deaths of others. I mean, amidst all the pain of losing them, I feel connected to other people, and ultimately to all life on earth. Maybe everyone's the same. In another way it always reminds me of the Latin phrase: tempus edax rerum. I'm never getting it tattooed across my chest, though. That's just pretentious :-)

Eric said...

"At least I couldn't smell any lilies."

I don't know what lilies mean to you, probably in a blog post I missed, but it made me remember.

The first person I knew who died was my grandfather, my "Pops" to my Dad, Grampa to me. I was four or five. Really didn't know him well, because he lived faraway in those days, but what I knew of him I really liked. He was warm, safe, kind, funny, grandfatherly. I remember when the phone rang, Dad answered, then told us "Pops died." I cried hard, it really hit home.

His was the first funeral I had ever been to, open casket. Hard to fathom that was the same man laying there. It was the first time I had ever smelled, or at least noticed the aroma of cut fresh flowers. I grew up outside of town, I knew what growing flowers smell like, this was different, overwhelming, and the association with my Grampa's death was instantly welded to that smell. Somewhere I'm sure you've commented about how memories, training, under high emotion are remembered best, most intensely.

Sorry you lost your friend. Best wishes to you and yours.

Every time I go in a florist's shop, or get close to a fresh cut/hot-house type flowers, I think of death, and the image of the room where my Grampa was laid out. "Think" is a little weak. It slams into my consciousness. It's not the sight of the flowers, it is the smell.

I get my wife roses every year for Valentine's Day because she likes them, and other flowers at various times, it makes her happy. Of course I never tell her what they do for me.

Eric said...

Just noticed I got my paragraphs slightly out of order above, but appears I can't edit it. I trust you still make sense of it.

Rory said...

The lilies. We had a spate of deaths, eight in two months. All suicides. One officer, one officer from a neighboring agency, six officers' family members. I didn't even notice that there were lilies at every funeral. Not until months later, my wife had made a fresh cut flower arrangement for the dining room--lillies. I walked in and the smell hit me in the stomach, "who's dead?"