In Memory

Angie, the friend I visited around Christmas time went into hospice two weeks later, and died two weeks ago, peacefully dying after just a day or two's unresponsiveness. Her memorial service was yesterday. It was crowded, and filled with people who hadn't been to our church for a while, and it was so good to see everyone gathered in her name.

She had planned the entire service, in her fearless way. It included speeches from her sons, her husband, one of his sons, and a dear friend of both of ours; the reading was the one about love in Corinthians, which was used in my wedding; and ended it with a rousing rendition of the Village People's "YMCA". It was very much her. The luncheon was fabulous, and the weather defied the predictions that it would start to snow in earnest soon after noon, it waited until after the last of the lunch was cleaned up, and people were home. At 2 pm, wind-driven Gulf clouds whipped into the Front Range from the east, and driven upslope, proceeded to dump a good eight inches of snow.

Today, only the intrepid made it into church, and of those that did, several needed to tell their stories about Angie, too, and I had to sit down with the friend who had done the speech the previous day to just hug her and listen and be present for her as she mourned. John had a similar experience with someone else.

I talked with someone else who has a sister with ovarian cancer, and how that sister is living life for all she's worth. "We're all dying anyway, but some of us just know it's going to be sooner than we'd like," he said. And he is right in a certain sense. Enjoy the ones you love while you can. That's important.

I cried a little during the memorial service, but not a lot. I'd had three crying jags already with respect to Angie, and one of them was just a few days ago, while I was painting six-panel doors for someone's basement. I'd really gotten to know her, the first time, during one of the Biloxi mission trips; and construction work just reminds me of her. The thing that struck me the hardest was my utter gratitude that I'd gotten to see her before Christmas. And it was only then that I realized that what made everything all right was that when I saw her, when I had to leave, we got to say to each other, "I love you."

That made it all right, in a way. I still miss her.

But it's all right.
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It's never easy. For some reason Death seems to be hovering around closer than usual of late - it seems like everyone I talk to has just lost or is losing someone important to them. I've been blue because it's coming up on the 25th anniversary of the death of Tom Allison, my dear, dear friend who died of HIV. I've lost a lot of people I have loved over the years: all my grandparents, my father and brother, and numerous other friends, but for some reason, Tom's death is the only one that I have never been able to make peace with - it's always fresh and tender, like it just happened. I wish I knew why.... I don't think its a good thing, but I can never seem to get reconciled with it.

Hugs, big warm ones, to you as you say goodbye to Angie. She sounds like she was a wonderful person, and like she knew just how special you are as well.
*hugs back gratefully*

yeah. grief is grief. It's not easy, but it can ease.

I'm sorry about your loss and it being something you can't reconcile with, that's... hard. I hope you find your way.