Thursday, July 18, 2013

In Memory and In Honor

In memory of a woman - a wife, mother, grandmother, community leader...and in honor of her daughter.

Our home town recently laid to rest a woman.  Pop and I traveled home to witness her memorial.  Her life and accomplishments alone merited our attention but, honestly, we went because of our connection with her daughter.  Pop is honored to work with her and I an honored just to be associated with her.  She is a woman of grace, beauty, and eloquence.

Pop with our friend
We share common stories and people from our raising.  We are knitted together forever simply because we come from the same place.  Her younger brother was Pop's age.  They were friends by kindergarten and remained friends, classmates, and teammates through high school.  He was taken from this earth all too soon when he was struck  by a car while he riding his bike.  His family, our home town, and a host of friends grieved his death.  Like his older sister (and all their siblings, I suspect), he was very bright and had much to offer this world.

As adults, we have come to know this precious woman and Pop and I have come to deeply respect and love her.  Attending the memorial for her mother made me love her all the more.  She spoke with poise, bolstered by the love of family and community.  The beautiful little church was was fitting.  She warmly welcomed everyone there and recognized the staff members of the medical community who had cared for her mother toward the end of her life.  She was the epitome of grace.

After she spoke, her next duty was to play a piano piece that was one of her mother's favorites...Clair de Lune.  I imagined a proud and pleased mother watching as her daughter's fingers deftly covered the piano keys to bring forth the serene melody.  Of course, her siblings, nieces and nephews (whom she speaks of often in conversations with Pop and me) had roles to play as well but her place was at the piano for most of the service.  She accompanied a soloist (also from our home town) during a beautiful rendition of The Lord's Prayer and also accompanied the home town chorale was during that piece that her music went flying off the piano and as she recovered the music she used the mishap to infuse humor into the situation...once again, grace prevailed.  There was no feeling sorry for her or wondering if she could go on.  Instead, she gave us freedom to laugh and in doing so gave herself freedom to pick up where she left off.  What an incredible woman!  Few could offer that kind of tribute to their parent as they grieved at their passing.

After the service, the family had arranged for cookies and cold drinks in the basement of the church and as folks mingled, I sensed that there was a reunion of sorts happening.  Pop and I sought our our friend and waited as she spoke with other people.  I'm convinced she sees the wonderful things in Pop that I see and she often expresses her appreciation for him when we are together.  She shines.  She glows.  She loves.  When she turned to us, she embraced Pop and cried.  I suspect she had been busy with preparations for the day and had not allowed herself much time for emotion.  I drew near and was welcomed into the embrace as she composed herself.  I will long remember that moment and I understand that she knows Pop is a safe place for emotion.  He understands and doesn't judge.

I teased Pop later that a lot of women seem to cry when they see him.  He protested a bit but knows I'm right.  He can't hide that soft side of his heart from folks...especially folks who look deep into his character and are privileged to be loved by him.  Raising four daughters has developed a softness in him that gives certain people (myself included) a safe place to fall apart and a solid place to stand up again.  I can be strong and brave in the face of catastrophe...until I see Pop...he reads my heart somehow and releases emotions I am sometimes not yet even aware of.  I hope that never changes in my lifetime.  It's good stuff.

No comments:

Post a Comment