Sadness in Line

For almost twenty years I’ve lived on Highland Street, not far from McDonough Funeral Home, which, like the nearby courthouse, churches, school building, green common, old mill and small businesses, train station, and other houses, represents a piece of the architecture of daily life. If we had a hospital, an art center, and a farm, we would pretty much have the circle complete. The shiny black cars, the orange parking cones, the line at the door, all these reminders of the inevitable. The line at the door. Every once in a while there is an extraordinary event down the street. Once in a while passersby see the evidence of a vast outpouring of grief. Yesterday was a day like that. In mid-afternoon the line of mourners backed out of the front door, down the steps, and wrapped around the side of the building. Family, friends, and acquaintances were there for Adam Keenan, the young baseball player who died suddenly. The Lowell High School, Franklin Pierce University, and UMass Lowell athlete was much loved. I wrote athlete, but as soon as I did I realized no life can be summed up simply. At the University he studied criminal justice. His obituary noted he liked to fish with his dad and mentions his girlfriend. A few paragraphs in the paper cannot sum up a life. The line was full of young people. You don’t see that very often. Nobody wants to see that.