R.I.P. Mr. K

Yesterday afternoon I went to the funeral of my friend’s father. This friend and I haven’t been close since college, but we were close between seventh grade and our second year at UCSB and I’ll always care for him. I’m very sad for him and his family: mom, brother, my friend, his wife, and their four children. The youngest child is young enough that he probably won’t remember his grandfather much. The oldest child is probably old enough to sorely miss him now that he’s gone.

I have a few memories of this man, mostly from the earliest days of my friendship with his son. He was jovial, friendly, kind, and welcoming. He was involved—a loving and supportive father. He did great projects with my friend, the most exciting of which to us teenagers was that he helped his son rebuild a beautiful white ’67 Mustang (maybe I have that year wrong). Mr. K enjoyed his sons’ friends and liked having them around. He liked to engage us in conversation.

Yesterday, I watched tearfully as these kind people went through the rituals: music from Mr. K’s home island of Maui, remembrances from family, friends, and colleagues, his biography tearfully read by my friend, and a photo slide show showing Mr. K in all the intimate, heartfelt moments of his life. You can imagine: Mr. K growing up, Mr. K getting married, Mr. K holding his two babies, Mr. K taking his sons fishing, Mr. K holding his four grandbabies.

Two things struck me. Mr. K as a young man looked almost exactly like my friend did and does. The two men share a name, too, so the parallels in features, personality, and biographies were perhaps even more arresting.

The other thing took me completely by surprise, however. When five of my male high school friends stood up to act as pallbearers, I sucked in my breath and the tears came on hard. Something about seeing these familiar faces—older, a little rounder, topped with some gray hairs tucked in among the brunet ones—these friends I knew well a long time ago, now dressed in their dark suits, dress shoes, and white gloves—it pierced my heart. These men, who used to be carefree boys, were now doing the somber and sad honor of bearing the body of their buddy’s dad to its resting place. It was a generational moment. It was a marker.

I feel so honored to have been there. I’m grateful that my old friends thought to invite me so that I could share in this intimate, painful moment with them. I’m glad to have seen these people again, to have talked with them, hugged them, cried with them. It was raw and real.

And it did what it was meant to do: It made me appreciative of all the raw and wonderful LIFE raging and surging and flowing around me.

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  • About Sara

    Thanks for visiting! I’m Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

    Our children attend Waldorf school and we are enriching our home and family life with plenty of Waldorf-inspired festivals, crafts, and stories.

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    “Love doesn’t just sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.” —Ursula K. LeGuinn

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