My cousin who died the other day was well loved by a shit load of people. I have never been to a wake or funeral with so many people there to pay their respects. The funeral home is a pretty large building. The line snaked through the equivalent of 7 rooms. The wake was from 6 to 9. We got there at 6:30 and the line was out the door. It took us an hour and a half to get to his coffin and his parents. My brother Scott and his wife got there after we did, we saw them through the window of the 3rd room. They never made it into the building before they had to leave to get their kids from a neighbor and put them to bed. His wife stayed home and he came back. I talked to him on the phone and told him to come in another door, that mom would take him past the line since he only wanted to give them a hug and give his condolences. So that's what he did and she did. He was there maybe all of 15-20 minutes because of talking with some family members that he hadn't seen in awhile.
As I said, he didn't even make it in the door, they had been outside 45 minutes before they decided to leave and he said they were still 10-15 feet from the door. It was below freezing last night and his wife is from the Philippines. She's only been here 2 years, she's nowhere near acclimated to this weather yet.
We heard other people say they were outside 1 1/2 to 2 hours. By the time we left, which was around 9:30, everyone was inside but the line was still very long. Today when I talked with my uncle, the deceased's grandfather, he said they didn't get out of there until 11:30. My cousin, the deceased's aunt, said she didn't get home until 2:30.
Most of the people that were there were friends from high school, college and work. He was well loved. There was a group of very well dressed young men, all wearing similar suits with a pin on the lapel. His grandmother on his dad's side asked them who they were. They were boys from his fraternity. Today we found out that 6 of them were pledges. Pledges. Kids who had next to no idea who he was but because they want to become members and members become brothers for life, they came to his funeral. They drove from southern Illinois all the way up to north of Chicago and left last night to go back.
Today the funeral was at 10:30. Although there weren't as many people there as last night it was still a very large crowd. It was a good 30 - 45 minutes for the people standing to pay their respects before the 1st row of seats was motioned to go up.
Even as a little kid of 5 he had something about him that just made you love him. I babysat him from the age of about 5 months till he was 5 1/2 and I had to move to Louisiana. My fondest memory is of him running down the hallway from his bedroom and tackling his older brother or me or my brother Wayne who also watched them from time to time.
It'll be about 6 weeks before we'll know anything. The good and somewhat bad thing is that he wasn't mugged. His wallet and everything in it, keys, digital camera, everything was still on him when he was found. There was no blunt trauma anywhere on his body. So what's going to take forever is the toxicology report. They know he'd been drinking but not how much. Also there was cold medicine found laying out on his table at home so he may have been on that.
It's good that his stuff wasn't stolen but if he had been mugged at least we'd have a reason why. No questions unanswered really, he had been killed for his money, etc. If the test results show only cold medicine and alcohol in his system we're going to have questions. Since we know he got in the cab, why wasn't he taken directly home? Did he give the wrong address? If he gave the correct one was he so out of it that he went wandering down the street? Did he pass out? etc, etc, etc.
It's senseless no matter what anyway, answer or no answer. He died too young and his brother and parents will never get over it. They'll learn to live with it but never get over it.
Media quote of the day:
To know just how he suffered would be dear
BY Emily Dickinson
To know just how he suffered would be dear;
To know if any human eyes were near
To whom he could intrust his wavering gaze,
Until it settled firm on Paradise.
To know if he was patient, part content,
Was dying as he thought, or different;
Was it a pleasant day to die,
And did the sunshine face his way?
What was his furthest mind, of home, or God,
Or what the distant say
At news that he ceased human nature
On such a day?
And wishes, had he any?
Just his sigh, accented,
Had been legible to me.
And was he confident until
Ill fluttered out in everlasting well?
And if he spoke, what name was best,
What first,What one broke off with
At the drowsiest?
Was he afraid, or tranquil?
Might he know
How conscious consciousness could grow,
Till love that was, and love too blest to be,
Meet -- and the junction be Eternity?