New wounds from a familiar source

For the umpteenth time this morning, I’m asked why I look so nice. It’s not often you see me in a suit and tie _ maybe three times a year _ and people in the office are inquisitive.
“How come you’re all dressed up?” another co-worker asks.
“I’m going to a fucking funeral, OK?”
Jesus Christ.
It’s been almost two months since my mom died, now I have to go to a funeral for the mother of a co-worker and good friend. That scar tissue that started to form over my heart just got ripped to shreds.
The foul clouds of remorse/pain/sorrow/loss began to form last night, when I decided I needed to be there for my friend at the service. I had a fitful night of sleep. I hopped all over my kids for being in my way this morning and glared at my wife when she didn’t iron my shirt fast enough (to her credit, she did iron it; I suck with an iron).
Then everyone keeps asking why I’m wearing a fucking strip of silk. Maybe I should put up a sign that says, “Going to a funeral, so don’t ask.”
But this ain’t about me. This is about a friend who is going through something I just went through.
Maybe it is about me, a little. Again, I feel completely fucking helpless. Useless.
I couldn’t stop the cascade of problems that finally led the doctors to shoot my mother up with 40ccs of morphine (where she slowly slipped away, quiet like and asleep, not the way she quite wanted to go out, I’m afraid).
Now, I can’t fix my friend. I’m not doing nearly enough to try, either. I know intimate details of how he feels, what his brothers and family have had to do since she died on Thursday. I know the smile you’ve got to put on, when a sympathetic soul brings a casserole to the door. The handshakes and hugs that come from everywhere. The weird questions at the funeral home, the church, the mortuary company.
I’ve called him once; I talked to him yesterday when he stopped to pick up his paycheck. Not nearly enough.
But all I can do is be there for him. Offer my support by just being at the church, within reach of my cell. Standing there, not really knowing what to say in my suit and tie today _ but to continue to stand by tomorrow and the days that follow _ in my boots, cargo pants and cowboy hat.
Misery loves company. John Ray, the British naturalist, said that. He also said, “If wishes were horses, beggars might ride.”
I’m certain my friend and I will talk about how we want our mom’s back; we’ll ride our pain together.

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