Monday, November 8, 2010

Special Appearances

As a family member of one who was passed away, I was inundated with appearances by those paying respects, particularly during the funeral viewing and the service. The moments are quite often bittersweet such as the moment I stood with longtime friends Sara and her brother Joe. The power of friendship saw us not only exchange thoughts regarding the loss of parents but once again, despite the passage of time, settle into the same comfortable ease of kinship we always had together. We also lamented that we are at that age: where our only reunions seemed to be happening at the funeral home. It's always wonderful to see each other again but the setting remains profoundly sad. I would see and be introduced to many people through these days, both expected and surprising, and they would all take my breath away. Two of these moments were provided by appearances I described in the last post: Texas and Dwight. These were some of the rest.....

I was introduced to two lovely ladies named Sharon and Martha that were nursing school classmates of my older sister, Shirley. They would descend on my sister like angels of mercy, delivering love, visitations to my mother at the assisted-living facility and loads of food, including some of my favorite Hershey Kiss cookies. I would find out that Sharon, the lady pictured at far left, was one of the nurses who helped deliver me into this world. Meeting that nurse at the funeral of my father was an amazing full-circle moment...

My longtime friend Sherri graduated high school with me and I hadn't seen her in many a year. Spending time with her fits into that category of "settling back into a comfortable ease". She's as adorable as ever and has three adorable children to match. Sherri was also my Junior-year prom date. Introducing her to Keith made for a very surreal and very funny moment.

My friend MariElena drove in from Bridgeport bearing gifts of food; one of them a very tasty turkey salad. My friend Lisa weathered a long round-trip from Columbus just to pay her respects. Both of these women are treasured to me and I was honored by both of their appearances.

The person that brought on the big ugly cry would be the surprise appearance of my dear Erica. I wrote about Erica in my 2009 post Lucy in Africa. I spoke of my meeting her as a lovely young child in Boston. Read that post for the whole story. We achieved a special relationship as Lucy and Ricky from I Love Lucy and when we left Boston, I delivered a rose to her at school signed "to Lucy from Ricky". All these many moons later, she has just finished a couple of incredible years doing Peace Corps work in Tanzania. I knew Erica had recently returned home but I certainly didn't expect to see her. She appeared at the viewing in full African dress carrying a rose for me that was signed, "To Ricky from Lucy". Well, the old eyes just went at that point....

I should also mention that there was another appearance that truly took my breath away. I spoke of my experience with bullying in the post There But For The Grace of God Go I. One of those unnamed bullies would arrive at the viewing. I didn't recognize him and he had to remind me of who he was. I was shocked and shaken to the core but remained calm and collected on the outside. He simply offered his condolences and paid his respects to my father. It goes without saying that I'd pretty much blocked him from my mind until I heaved up that blog post. To then see him at my father's viewing was well, astounding...I'm still working that one out in my head.

The faces, the handshakes, the people pass through so quickly, I'm still processing them all. Some, however, are instantly unforgettable.

4 comments:

Kristy said...

:)

Kate (Cathy Johnson) said...

Greg, you have amazing insights...beautiful.

Kristy said...

Nursmaids and prom dates. Lucy and Ricky reunited. Turkey and chocolate. It always amazes me how the wake of sadness often creates joy.

Anonymous said...

~~ Greg, your dad's passing brought a lot of folks showing respect to him, but, it also shows the respect, love, and wonderful memories others have of you too.

Deanna

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