We got the news on Monday.
This morning was the funeral.
It feels odd to have a funeral on a nice day. I know that there's only so much planning one can do for these things, so you take what weather you're given. But I always somehow expect overcast, gloomy weather. Thinking back on the dozen or so funerals I've attended, I can only remember cold, bitter days or rainy, cloudy days. As unpleasant as such weather might seem, there's a weird comfort in the idea – like the weather too is taking note of the event and has dressed appropriately. It reinforces the wrong headed but unshakable notion that the universe, even in all its terrible impartiality, saddens at our passing.
A nice day seems almost perversely dissonant. Or clumsily insensitive, like a guy who gets in your face and tries too hard to convince you everything is going to be okay. Of course it is; but now isn't the time.
It was held in a Catholic church uptown. Instead of going into the office, I went straight to the church.
Ended up sitting in a pew next Mr. Bruce, head of the company. He's Jewish and spent most of the ceremony whispering, "What's that? What is this everybody's doing? Do we have to sing?"
This was how my parents must have felt so many times when I was young and impatient to get through services.
Not being Catholic, I gave him answers as best I could.
Eulogies were delivered by a long-time friend who read from some of her letters, a co-worker who discussed Lisa's early days, and several authors who'd gotten their start with Lisa. Lisa was an editor for a small imprint of a major house. I didn't recognize the authors' names, but, I'm told, all were big writers in their field. Later I would hear one of the authors describe Lisa's passing as a potential "career-ending injury for an entire generation of scholars."
Afterward, on training to the office with two folks from HR, one of them mentioned Robin's absence from the funeral. It was Katherine who complained to HR about Robin's infamous "lesbians are repulsive" claim. Though it was unclear at the time, and there's no way Robin could have known, that comment must have been said right when Lisa was just becoming sick, before the doctors knew what was up, before anything was certain.
For a moment, I thought that it would have been nice to have Robin there. Perhaps, if she saw the grieving family members, all the crying friends, all the coworkers and people who depended upon Lisa, she'd realize how human Lisa was. I though, for a moment, that seeing Katherine cry would make clear to Robin just what a profound and loving bond they shared. If she saw love for what it was, she couldn't label it repulsive.
Later, however, I figured that I was just being maudlin. Hate doesn't listen to sobbing. Robin knows plenty of lesbians and gays, she works in close quarters with them, she's shared a drink with them, she's danced and laughed with them. She knows that they are, like her, just people. And yet, she's ready to condemn, to criminalize, to persecute. Why would watching people cry work when watching them laugh didn't?
And why make this about the somebody else's redemption?
Lisa seems to have fought enough in life. Let her rest. She worked hard, was well-loved, and was a good person. Let the people who knew that about her bury her in peace.
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