The guy had died young – 48 – of cancer. He was a fellow of little pretense who, while fundamentally decent, was impish and fun loving. I was enduring the fitful progress of the funeral receiving line by looking back on some of our good times. And I started chuckling.
Heads turned. “I’m in a good mood,” I explained. “He wouldn’t have wanted us to be dour.” The others weren’t quite sure. Actually I wasn’t quite sure; he might have liked some dourness. But I couldn’t arrest this giddy phase which I ascribed then, and still do, to the rascally spirit of my dead friend.
My mood was not infectious. Nobody else picked it up, and I heard my friend telling me, as he had in life, to shut up and have a little respect.
Which I did. I suppose an emotion is not less real if one puts a lid on it until later.