Friday, June 08, 2007

Standing on Ceremony

I have found that while I naturally resist ceremoniousness, I have developed a newfound respect for ceremonies. They, when embarked upon judiciously, turn the book of one's life from a paperback to a hardcover.

It seems silly now, but before we were married, the man and I dreaded the idea of a wedding. Part of it was the ridiculous wedding-industrial complex that we wished to avoid, but part of it was a real fear of bringing our very different families together. But what became apparent to me almost as soon as the day was done was that the experience of the wedding created a bond between us all. It enabled our relatives (especially the more socially conservative ones) to recognize us as a family unit. Never mind the fact that this man had been in my life for more than seven years by that point. That day made "US" real and definite to our loved ones and remains a threshold, a part of our shared history.

With Eva's service, we were able to put another distinct marker in our lives and the back cover on hers. The ceremony enabled us to honor her life and recognize and mourn its untimely end. It served many purposes, actually. For those in attendance, it provided a window into our lives and perhaps made Eva's story more real and definite to those who never had a chance to meet her. It has not given me total peace, but I think the best I can hope for is a tentative one.

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