Thursday, December 21, 2006

Reasons Pending

My aunt's memorial service today was everything that she was -- tasteful, brief, dramatic, dancing around and with spirituality, mysterious, frustrating, peaceful, precise. confident, frightened, angry, confusing, graceful, distant. The woman from Episcopal church presiding over the service used the word "regal" at least 15 times. She said my aunt reminded her of a number of actresses the golden age, a list that included Loretta Young, Lauren Bacall, Audrey Hepburn and then, she added, "though not actresses, Jackie Kennedy and Babe Paley."

It was the first time I heard confirmed what I suspected when I got the news of her death. Like the precisely orchestrated service itself, the death itself was of her own design. Every sign was there, and the vicar said she felt it wasn't due to depression, just the sense of control she felt was so crucial.

I've started building a list of snapshot memories of this experience that I will likely write up later.

My cousin said that the death certificate said that the cause of death listed "reasons pending," but he added, "We know. We know."

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