Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A week of loss...

such a sad week, not only for me (although it is), but for my dear friends. Women who I have been blessed to walk along side for a bit of my life have had to say good-bye to people they love fiercely.
To sit with Judy, oddly juxtaposed with the joy of catching up with a newly red-headed friend, and waiting for her clearly weakened and ill mom's test to be finished. What an unexpected chance to see her...but under such tenuous circumstances...bringing a tea for us to share and laughs and tears...while waiting. Judy's mom, the woman who I asked to be adopted by. A funny, sassy, irreverent truly GOOD woman, is the kind of woman I want to be in my 70's. When Judy asked if she was hungry, Joan answers un unh. Judy decides that yes she is hungry and Joan, sassy and shaking from exhaustion (and probably pain she barely admitted to), looks at me with THAT look and says "didn't I say no?"...smirking. And I agree that I heard a negative response too. To which she says "I thought so!" The world was better for her passing through, better for the strong women she raised and the strong women THEY are raising. For her kindness and undeniable, fierce love of her children, grandchildren, life.
She left life on her terms Sunday, off to see her beloved husband. She will not have another anniversary of his passing, to sit alone and listen to music and have a cry. She is now with him, at rest, leaving us behind to honor her legacy. By loving and laughing and sassing our way through life.
I, for one, want to live up to that challenge. To love fiercely, live fully, to laugh and have a drink to celebrate and remember (I'll skip the cigarettes though). I want to walk in the shadows of a woman like Joan and leave footsteps in her wake; and then when it is my time to pass, I want to have my daughter linger over memories of me and how we talked so often and loved so much.

Evelyn buried her beloved son today. She drove him to work; talked to him of faith and family and his health. And now he's gone, 50 days after his fall. She says we shouldn't bury our children; that it's just wrong. They are all so broken, staring vacantly off and through us at the wake. The evidence of Evelyn and Dale's love for their children is palpable, as is the loss. What to say? I'm so sorry for your loss just seems pale. But in the end, it is true. David was 6 days younger than me; went to bed one night and never woke up. Left a wife who is shell shocked and children who don't seem to get what happened.

Sitting here tonight, in a quiet house, it's dark. I've cried myself out for my friends' loss, co-mingling this week. I don't have words to say that will bring comfort. But tonight, sitting here, I know that I want to live a life with as few regrets as possible. To live a life where those who I love KNOW I love them, admire them, enjoy their company.

I won't have an opportunity to give a last lecture like that guy from Carnegie Mellon (check it out on youtube.) But I have the opportunity to tell the truth, to encourage, to love, to laugh...and to be me. Not an imitation of what people think I should be or what I think they want. Just be me. Loving and laughing and sassing a little along the way.

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