It was as most funerals are: The grieving widow and family, the coffin holding the body of a public servant ready for burial and old friends re-connecting. As so many memorial services do, they bring together individuals who have not seen each other for years if not decades. Once reconnected, they speak as if it were only yesterday that their lives crossed paths: Old enemies forgetting what angered them over the years; old rivalries unremembered; stories retold of battles past; minds struggling with faces that they cannot attach to names.
And so it was earlier this week when his family and friends came to bid farewell to Carlos Truan, a long-serving member of the Texas Senate, after his heart failed. His funeral turned out to be more than a reconstruction of the past and more than about a life well-led that earned the respect of friend and some foes alike.
In Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, located but a block from the Texas State Cemetery in Austin, the memories gave way to the realization that the old victories that Truan helped win must be won again. Gathered to honor a sometimes obstinate fighter for the progressive cause, the men and women there have on their plates again the full agenda of the past 40 years – from securing the voting rights of the individual to checking corporate greed to helping determine if humankind can survive the environment. There are fewer of them now but life is little different for the men and women who have public service and love of community as their quotidian chore.
Truan was not a Moses. He was more a bantam-weight fighter that always showed up inside the ring. But like Moses he leaves at a time when a whole HispanicLatino people are ready to move into the next chapter of their history. The old battles he helped win might have yet set the stage for the next cycle of life.
Funerals are about resurrection, whether one believes in an afterlife or not. In the faces of the old warhorses, Ted Kennedy’s speech at the 1980 Democratic national convention came to life again: The cause does endure, the hope still lives and the dream will never die.
The work must go on.
Feel free to forward these blogs adapted from previous writings, with additional thoughts published invariably in between.