You know that feeling in your eyes and the front of your cranium you get the morning after a lot of crying? You feel tired and heavy and sluggish? My eyes are all over that this morning. I’m even a bit hungover! Not something you’d expect after a memorial service, but somehow, I’m not surprised.
Last night was Michael’s memorial service, and it was beautiful. His favourite music was played, memories were shared, and everyone hummed and sang one of his favourite songs. Some of Michael’s friends got to say a few words, which made everyone cry, and laugh. The laughing was good.
His family really wanted a focus on Michael’s friends, as his dad said in his eulogy, because for a 19 year old, often you’re closer to your friends than your family. And did we ever turn out in force; all sorts of people reconnecting for the first time in a while. It would have been better if the reunion had a happier reason, but no one else could have brought us back together like that.
Throughout the service, I was very focused on Michael's dad. He tried very hard to stay upbeat, to celebrate Michael’s life, nodding his head along to the music and positively grinning as he encouraged Michael’s close friends, shooting them thumbs up after they spoke. He showed how much he appreciated it. It really got to me when I saw him jamming along to the end of a song, pulling on his blazer to stand for the eulogy. To say goodbye. I couldn’t even imagine the incredible pain he was in, but he smiled as he prepared himself. It was incredible. It was what Michael would have wanted. After he finished, he gave over to the sobs, but we all had our moments, and I think Michael would have understood that too.
The best part was the reception after the service. Almost all the friends and family gathered at their house, sharing food and drink and celebrating his life. There were lovely moments, of quiet music being played, and an army of candles planted in the back garden.
I got home at midnight, hours later than expected, but feeling full. Full of joy and sadness, love and companionship. I still can’t believe this really happened, that he’s really gone. I think that part will take a bit more time.