There are a special few people that as they pass through your life, leave a lasting impression. Evelyn from my writing group was one of those people. Her early life was difficult in ways you can't imagine, but instead of letting those experiences knock her down, she turned her circumstances around with her positive spirit. I could say that she made the best of it, but that is far too negative - she lived her life to the fullest, with joy and passion. She was an inspiration.
I say "was" because she passed away from cancer the other day at the respectable age of 86.
The funeral was at the local Catholic church. I could say it was a plain church, but that makes it sound like a dry piece of bread. Simple is a better word. Light maple floors, oak pews, soaring oak wall behind the altar, combined with the white walls and numerous opening windows made for a light and airy space that was uplifting. It was free of overstatement and the obvious. It was a space that I felt at peace in. It was the perfect place to say goodbye to Evelyn.
The priest spoke for 5 or 10 minutes about Evelyn - it was clear that he knew her well and cared for her deeply. He had the crowd laughing as he mocked his heavy Nigerian accent, admonishing everyone to pay attention. There was singing and prayer, and a feeling of community, and I thought to myself for a moment or two that I might like to join the church.
Unfortunately I couldn't stay for the reception and eulogy as Carm's grade school reunion was this afternoon. I would have loved to stay, but it was nice to see, if only for a moment, my friends from writing group. It seems so long ago that we had our farewell potluck - oh wait… it was a long time ago… almost 3 months.
The reunion was a fun gathering of people that have grown up to be all sorts of things. As we stood talking with some old friends I felt a dark shadow pass by me. I turned around to see an apparition from an 80s heavy metal hair band, complete with long black hair, tight black jeans and requisite black t-shirt. My immediate thought was that this middle-aged man was mired in the past, unwilling to grow up. It turns out I was wrong though - he and his band Exciter, still tour Europe and South America, making a living for himself and the rest of the band. There is something to be said about that.
Friday night we had friends Marie, Vashek, Trudie, and Leo, over for an evening of spirited discussion. So much for eating veggies only… the chips were in front of me and somehow made their way into my tummy. Drat!
When Christ shall come, with shout of loud praises,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And then proclaim, "My God, how great Thou art!"