The Book of Love

I can’t remember if we decided that Stephin Merritt was an ass or not the last time we talked about him.  I kind of think we decided he was an ass, but so were his critics.  Isn’t that how it is?

I was trying to find that Magnetic Fields song that goes “A pretty girl in her underwear/ If there’s anything better in this world, who cares?” and then “A pretty boy in his underwear/ If there’s any other reason to jump for joy, who cares?” when I accidentally found “The Book of Love,” which is such a beautiful song that I want to hear a choir sing it.

I like the whole song.  It’s short and sweet and I really like the idea of the Book of Love being just this enormous almost useless tome sitting unmovable in a library some place.  And how it contains all these things “facts, and charts and instructions for dancing” as well as having music in it.  And yet, each couple must work out between them for themselves how love goes.

And, at the end, when he sings, “I love it when you give me things and you ought to give me wedding rings.”  It just gets me right in the heart.

We’re going up to my cousin’s wedding on Thursday.  I really, really don’t want to go.  It’s not that I don’t think he should get married.  Shoot, I love his fiancee.  Anyone who drives my family that crazy should be immediately welcomed in with open arms.  And who doesn’t get a little misty-eyed and optimistic about folks setting off together in the world?

It’s just that Greg won’t be there.  And he won’t be there not because he’s hiding from scary folks who want their money or that he’s in no shape to come or that he’s out in the parking lot trying to talk the younger folks into letting him into their cars to “make phone calls” when really he’s up to whatever weird thing he’s up to.

He couldn’t be there if he wanted.  What a terrible fucking waste, you know?  Just what a stupid, stupid fucking waste.

We always joke that we only get together at weddings and funerals.

That “we” gets smaller and smaller.

That’s the bullshit thing about grief, too, you know?  That you’re sitting here six months later and it’s like your hearing of his passing for the first time.

I’m a mess.  I’m really sorry that I’m a mess.

But let’s be optimistic.  I just have to get through this weekend and then it’s on to Boston and no matter what happens in Boston, there are no dead relatives there, haunting the peripheries of all this family time.  Let’s hope things here at Tiny Cat Pants return to normal at that point.

Until then, let’s just muddle through as best we can.

6 thoughts on “The Book of Love

  1. Oh, sugar.

    I’m sorry. The first big family gathering after a loss is always so damn hard. The next one is, too, and the next, but it seems as though the Louisville Slugger of grief doesn’t get quite as big a follow-through on subsequent swings. (That may be the worst metaphor ever created, but you know what I mean. I hope.)

    Maybe you’ll hear him snickering in your ear when something snicker-provoking happens. That’s happened to me a few times.

    Sending comforting hugs and smooches and wishes for family in-jokes that make you laugh until you have to cross your legs.

  2. {{HUGS}} There are hardly any weddings in my family, so it’s very nearly always for a funeral. Guilt and sorrow and grief and anger and resentment for the loved ones leaving, even/especially those who weren’t what we wanted, hoped they would be.

    He’s left the monster behind. It’s OK to remember the good parts of him; they’re just as true as the bad parts, even if the monster won for a time.

  3. I’m with you on family gatherings being difficult.
    I’m going to the funeral home tonight. My mom’s cousin died Sunday morning. He was really close to my dad during certain parts of their lives and he got way upset when I told him that we were cremating dad.
    I’ll see all his brothers, sisters and in-laws tonight for the first time since my granny passed away in December, and I know my own sister will be really upset.
    So I understand how weird it gets when all the big family events start getting tied together by knots of grief.

  4. I’m sorry. Grief is about the most universal absolutely individual experience I can think of.

    I lost both of my parents in the last few years and if it taught me anything beyond that the morticians need to be shot before the lawyers it is that all the stuff about “closure” is pure crap.

    I don’t spend every day grieving like I used to, but it is still always with me. There are two huge holes in my life and nothing will ever fill them. I’ve learned to live with that reality, but it doesn’t stop me from tearing up at things I never would have noticed before. They are dead. They are going to be dead. There is no “closure” to that reality except my own death.

    I’ve got good memories of them, but I’m not going to get to make any more.

    And that sucks.

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