Ten days ago, Dar’s father passed away in Rochester, New York, and last Thursday I flew up there to participate in his funeral. The trip caused me a lot of anxiety. I worried that instead of supporting Dar I’ll end up a burden for him, and, since I am not naturally very social, I worried about spending so much time with little known family and friends.
Most of all, I dreaded the twenty four hours in which Dar was going to have to be a Buddhist monk to honor his father. This pretend-monk business included fasting, sleeping at the temple, and a required shaving of his head. On Friday, after the shaving and donning of orange robes ceremony, all I could think of was how handsome my man looked as a monk. But then it hit me. For nearly twenty-four hours I was not allowed to touch him or really talk to him. He was taboo, this handsome orange-clothed monk.
Thank the Buddha for Dar’s sister, who took me in hand and dragged me with her from temple to hotel to funeral home to restaurant to hotel to funeral home to crematory to restaurant and to hotel again over the next twenty four hours. Ever practical, brimming with an incorrigible sense of humor and an ability to make the best of everything, Mouly cheered me up and made fun of my separation anxiety from Dar at the same time. If we weren’t at a funeral, I’d be tempted to say that I had a good time.
I almost burst out crying when my monk came in for the morning service and sat two rows in front and across from me in the funeral home chapel. I barely kept my seat at the restaurant reception a few hours later when he came in and sat with the other monks (his brother, brother-in-law, nephew and cousin were all pretend monks, and there were three real Buddhist monks). When he finally came back in his regular clothes on Sunday afternoon, the dam burst. I missed him so.
Today I’m back home and eternally amazed by how easily I bounce back, no matter how weary, depressed or overwhelmed I am. Food, sleep, a good shower, and I’m back to my normal self. And now I’m free to appreciate just how well I got along this weekend, how despite my antisocial nature I talked to everyone and feel very attached to Dar’s family and many of their friends. I discovered this weekend that I can be much more social than I thought.
A life-changing weekend, highly affecting, that brought into my life many new people to love. Dar and Mouly both said that their father valued family first and foremost over everything else in his life, and so I feel sure he would have approved and appreciated all this love.
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