We held Aidan's funeral today. Just like last night, many people came; some of the same people from the wake, but many others as well. More teachers and aides from Albany came. People from the hospital in Springfield came. Good friends from Boston and New York City came. It was another outpouring of love for Aidan.
The ceremony took place in the church that Maureen and Maggie attend. The space was filled with all sorts of people. Maureen and Maggie and I had picked out the music and the readings and we felt they captured some of what Aidan's life means to us. The pastor, a close family friend who knows Aidan well, knit the various words and lyrics together with his own understanding of our family.
Maureen and I served as pall bearers, along with Aidan's cousins and one of the women who had helped him for years in the local school. It was important to feel the weight of the casket as we lifted him into the hearse. We have always lifted him; we know his weight well. Picking him up those last times helped to impress his memory into our muscles.
We blew bubbles as the graveside. This was Maureen's idea, linked to the summertime playgroup she has run for the past several years, where the kids would blow bubbles all over Aidan. It was good to see close to a hundred people all blowing bubbles, the iridescent spheres drifting up to the sky.
Afterward we went back to the church, where members of the congregation had generously arranged lunch for many of us. It was just another example of how people are good.
I spoke a eulogy for Aidan. It is reproduced in full below.
A Eulogy for Aidan M. Crane
Spoken on March 22, 2006
Community Bible Church
Aidan – our son, our brother, our grandson, our nephew, our cousin, our student, our friend – lived a full and rich life.
Love for him spills across national borders. A
woman in Japan, Reiko’s mother, who once visited in Williamstown some years ago and met Aidan, has been
praying for him in recent days, her words rising up into the sky over Hokkaido. Friends in Australia
are casting flowers into the waters of Sydney Harbor in his memory. A man in Malaysia sent a quotation from an ancient Chinese philosopher in his honor. And an internet acquaintance in South Africa is
reciting a Buddhist sutra for him.
In fourteen years Aidan connected with more people than any one of us can know. He filled a large place in the world.
“Just giving Aidan some food,” she replied.
“You mean he gets his food that way.”
“Yes, that’s how he gets his food.”
“How come?” the boy asked.
“Oh, he was born that way,” Maureen answered. “You know some kids have blue eyes and some have brown; some have black hair and some have blond. Well, that was the way Aidan was born: he gets his food through a tube.”
The boy looked at Maureen in wide-eyed amazement: “You mean he never has to taste broccoli?”