Shades of the autumn of ’04

2004 was the first time I had been to three funerals in a year; 2012 is the second.

I came home Friday night and realized I had forgotten my antibiotic pills at the office, which I was supposed to take every six hours. Worse, I couldn’t find my stinkin’ badge to get back into the building, even if I had returned to work. Reluctantly, I called a friend from work, and she picked me up, got me into the building, and helped me get my medicine.

Saturday, I went over to another friend’s house. I had been surprised to discover that she and her husband were separating. We’d been to their wedding only a few years earlier. I had asked her, who I had known far longer, whether I could help him get some of his stuff out of the house, and she had readily agreed. But after we’d loaded the vehicle, he declined my invitation to go to his new place to unload. However, when another friend came with HIS vehicle, it was necessary to reveal the location, only about 10 minutes away, and I helped unpack that next load.

Coincidentally, his new abode was the very same apartment complex where my friend from paragraph one used to live, where she had held the party before Carol’s and my wedding back in 1999, the one where Carol guessed correctly that my favorite book was the World Almanac, but I had no idea hers was 100 Years of Solitude. I hadn’t been there in over seven years.

The further coincidence is that the two women in this story lost their husbands to illness in 2004, indeed in the fall of 2004. I went to three funerals in that span, the third being the mother of still another friend, and there were other friends who lost family members in that period as well. Also, my main boss at work suffered a heart attack during that period; his first appearance outside the hospital was at our work friend’s husband’s funeral.

Oh, and the two women, who I do not believe know each other, have the same first name.

Carol and I always remember that most unsettling period. That was the first time I had been to three funerals in a year; 2012 is the second. But those 2004 funerals were all packed in about a three-month period. I wouldn’t want to call it annus horribilis, or terrible year, since it was also the year the Daughter was born. But what would be the term for a truly awful thirteen weeks, quartus horriblis?

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