To listen to this post in French click below
When Roland, my husband, died in a car accident at age 46, some fourteen years ago, I was 48 and our daughter was not yet seven. We had never really talked about cemeteries and burials and things like those, because they felt like faraway things. Roland was born a Catholic and I am Jewish, but neither of us was religious. Once, I remember saying that I would like there to be a rabbi when I was buried and he had said:
Have you ever thought that it means that we wouldn’t be buried together?
So, when he died, I remembered that conversation and understood it as a wish to have a Catholic ceremony. So I made an appointment with the local priest.
Roland had that car accident on a Tuesday, and the burial was to take place on the Friday and I had an appointment with the priest on the Thursday. Meanwhile, one of our closest friends had arrived from Boston and was helping us cope, my daughter and I. I don’t remember much of what happened on that Thursday except for a flow of friends and family in and out of the flat, the one I moved out of, seven years ago.
At six o’clock the phone rang. Can you believe that I had forgotten all about the appointment at the church? Well, I had.
I rushed there, quite embarrassed, but the priest was really kind and understanding and we decided on the details of the ceremony. Then I went back home, and just after I had passed the door, the doorbell rang and this man asked for my husband.
In fact, two days earlier, Roland had gone shopping for us and that man was delivering the things that my husband had ordered. It felt really weird, but somehow I sensed that all this shopping he had done for us had become his way of reaching to us.
A few years later, when I was ready to move from the flat where we had lived together to the one, where I’m now living, I went to my bank and the desk clerk, seeing my name, said that there was someone in the staff who had the same name as me. I thought he must be mistaken, but it did turn out that a second cousin of my father-in-law had just obtained a job in that bank. We had never met, only heard of one another, but liked one another so well that I felt she had become part of my family.
A coincidence? Maybe. I was sure that it was another wave from my husband.
I have been turning this post into my mind ever since I read joared’s comment on Ronni Bennett’s Oh the stories We can tell. All I can say is, if you haven’t read it, go and do it now.
I have finally recorded a French version of this post that you can listen to by clicking the link above.
The photo of Roland is one I particularly like. I took it in Boston, around 1973, and although he hadn’t shaved on that day, I love the way he looked at me.