I attended my first Zoom funeral today.

One of Matt’s closest friends, a man he met in high school, died yesterday of the coronavirus. He’d been sick at home for two weeks, his wife and son leaving food outside his closed door, and suddenly, on Sunday night, he couldn’t breathe and within a very short time, and before they could get him to the hospital, he died.

Death comes, even if it takes a long time, so suddenly. Someone is here and then, they’re not. The funeral was beautiful, as people recounting their love for a person, often is. (Mike’s wife, Muriel, told a story about how anxious she was when she was writing her PhD dissertation, and how Mike simply sat behind her with a hand on her back to help her get started. And so that she would be aware of comfort and love). 

And I find myself crying today, for Mike’s wife and children and for Matt who lost one of his best friends, but also, for the poignancy of this time. For the awareness of the preciousness of a human life. For living in ongoing uncertainty about how long this will last. A month? Six months? But also, for love. 

After the funeral ended, I looked closely at Matt’s face. Took in the glint in his eyes, the lines around his mouth. This man I have been with for 34 years. And I was reminded again of how much looking at that face reminds me of pure goodness (even if he has forgotten to rinse the knives before he put them in the dishwasher). 

And so, here we are. At a crossroads, where love can usurp fear. Where we can remember what we love, and remember also that we cannot ever fight death, which makes living even more precious. This moment. And now, this moment. Every moment we are alive. If this time can teach us anything that softens our hearts, it is about love and connection and how, in the face of illness and death, we become more and more aware of what really matters. 

One last thing: Matt tells a story about how, when they were roommates in Far Rockaway, Mike and he went out looking for dessert late one night and couldn’t find any ice cream parlors or stores open and so they returned home, scavenged their kitchen and could only find frozen lima beans. So they cooked those. And ate lima beans for dessert. And for the last forty years, have been threatening to treat their families to the great lima bean dessert cook-off, which had as much lift-off as a concrete boot. Godspeed, Mike Edelman. We walk the earth with more lightness and joy because you were on it.

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