“For whatever you think of me, any thought you might allow
I’m not who I would like to be, it’s just who I am right now” – ‘Fragile’ by Ralston Bowles
There I sat, alone by design, at another funeral. It’s the fourth or fifth one since April and I was looking toward another one in a week or so for my brother-in-law. I sat alone because there were so many long-time friends and acquaintances at this service and I couldn’t face them. This was a service for Gary’s family and I didn’t want to draw attention to my own griefs. One more condolence and I knew I’d lose it so there I sat, in the middle of a row, with four seats on either side of me trusting that no one would recognize the back of my head.
There were some solid musicians playing at Gary’s service, the minister who officiated at my wedding. They were there to pay tribute. I’ve heard Ralston Bowles play many times over the years and he’s a flippin’ musical genius. But today, his voice was singularly beautiful as he sang one of Gary’s favorite songs by Andraé Crouch. For a moment I forgot myself as I listened to him. I forgot where I was or why I was there. Ralston had transported me for a brief moment and I am truly thankful.
I really thought I could do this. I thought I could come and share the grief of another family and offer comfort. But once the service was over and I spoke to a couple friends I realized I could not stay. I was saved by a text. A friend had gotten lost on the way to the service wondered if I could meet her for lunch. Yes, oh yes! I had to get out of there.
And so I said some goodbyes, signed the guest book and fled.
Now I’m home, changed and in solitude. I’ve received an email from my sister-in-law who has taken me up on my offer to come stay with her. In fact, she’s asked if I’d come down before the funeral to help. I’m more than glad to be of some help and comfort and will be leaving soon. I can do one on one. It’s crowds of people I can’t deal with right now because I’m feeling quite fragile.
If you are interested in learning more about Ralston Bowles and his music, go to https://www.earthworkmusic.com/artists-ind?i=1039
You can hear his music here: https://www.reverbnation.com/ralstonbowles
Donna Kemper put aside her art career to care for a mother she hadn't seen in over a decade. For seven years she followed her mother's journey into dementia, caring for her and putting forgiveness into action.