At the time, I did not have much to say.
Others, by and large, said it all, and that was part of it. Part of it, though, was that… it did not touch me quite as hard as it seemed to hit many.
Which is strange, in a way. All my life, I have been very emotionally invested in characters in fiction, even though I am much more stoic in real-world matters. I can understand, accept, and move on when an actual relative dies, when trauma occurs in my own life. But when that happens to a character in a story, that is when I feel it keenly, that is when the tears come.
But Faye died, and I took it in stride. Oh, I’m not saying I was numb to it – I felt it for what it was. But I was also able to recognize that it could have been so much worse for Faye – to die peacefully in her sleep, after a day spent with the love of her life, before the infirmities of age had crippled them… that is about as good as it gets.
And I’m not saying it wasn’t a tragedy, that it wasn’t sad – but the tragedy, as it all too often is, is for those left behind. And even though her husband Fred recognized that things could be worse, no one can say there wasn’t sorrow in her death for him, and for all those whose lives she touched.
And maybe that is why her funeral is really what got to me. A chance to see those who loved her, or remembered her. Some were familiar faces, others were not – but we saw their emotions, captured with only a few simple lines each. And it hit me, and hit me hard.
There is a lot captured in that page of panels. There is a lot of emotion, and depth, both on the surface and idling underneath.
And in the end, it is a credit to R.K. Milholland’s writing that I felt the death of Faye and reacted in much the way I would in life – quiet acceptance and understanding… but felt true sorrow for all those who were left behind.
Felt sorrow, deep and cutting, at the sheer sense of the loss that they had suffered.