Louisville Magazine

MAR 2017

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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kentuckytotheworld.org 102 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 3.17 Inside the funeral home, two banks of foldout chairs filled the hall. A silence fell over the room — the hush of finality, of consequences tallied up, and for a mo- ment I thought it was more than I could pay. I was about to leave, but someone in the front was speaking, a minister. I thought he asked if anyone would like to say a few words. I didn't want to go up — there were too many people. But I heard Euan, his voice, uttering that phrase that summed up everything he had taught me: You better cowboy up. So I went to the podium and faced the room. Downtown, on Fourth and Muham- mad Ali, I said, a placard marked where omas Merton had his great realization that everyone walking around him was "shining like the sun." at always sounded crazy to me — until now. Now I realized that there were invisible bonds webbing between every- one in the room, and that we felt them only in the shock of their absence. Nobody teaches life anything, and the ones we love most exit and enter our lives mysteriously, as if they're lent to us, like anything that's infinitely rare. I didn't understand this when he was alive, but Euan was filled with light, and only now do I see him, as he really was, during the few years that he was lent to us — an almost unbear- ably beautiful soul. When I finished, a grisly unreality per- meated the room, as if we all realized now that the last task left to us was to put him in the ground. e casket was behind me, and to this day I regret that I did not spread my hand upon it, tuck the pages that I had written for him in amid the flowers, as if gliding my fingers over his eyelids. But I didn't. I moved in the silence back toward my seat. A woman stood up. It was Euan's mother. "ank you, Charles," she said, in the accent of their homeland. "at was lovely." I lunged toward her, clasped her light shoulders, because I felt like I was falling down for miles. After the service ended, Stuart and I wandered into a kitchen area, and he poured coffee for us. We stood there, sipping. Stuart shook his head. "I'm so mad at him," he said. "It should've been me." Following the line of cars out of the funeral home, past Tyler Park, we wound through the gates of Calvary Cemetery and up a hill and walked with the other congre- gants to a tent where the pallbearers stood with the minister around the casket. e man opened a Bible; his voice faded into the wind. As one, the pallbearers picked up the casket and proceeded down the hillside, to where a chasm had been gouged out of the ground. We moved to the edge of the road and looked down the slope. My man. My man from Amsterdam. e pallbearers stooped, fitting the casket into a frame above the grave. A woman in a dress and heels was sobbing into a man's chest. Euan, I hope we stay friends. en one of the cemetery workers knelt, turning a lever, and we listened to the clanking of iron wheels, lowering him into the crypt of the earth. Till the day I die. Till the day I die. Closing Time Continued from page 40

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