Celebrate while Mourning

In 1977, my family moved from the only house that I had remembered into a new one. Immediately our neighbors, L&D, became like family to us. And when he came along, their son C did as well. Through the divorce of my parents to the troubled teen years, L was there for my mom to lean on and for my brother and I to run to when needed. Mom remarried in the early ’90’s and moved five miles down the road, then a year later L&D moved five STATES down the road when they relocated to Naples, Florida.

Today after church I went to the funeral home to pay my respects to L, whose mother passed away on Thursday morning. D could not make the trip as he is horribly ill, too frail to make the journey due to chemo, but L&C came up for the funeral.

I felt for L, as her entire family is spread out. Her father is disoriented and in not-so-spectacular health either, but hey he’s well over eighty years old so he deserves to have a few creaks and pains. But all are here, and the viewing was from 2-4 this afternoon. As lifelong active church members, there were tons of people there. Aside from C&L, I only knew two other people–my mother and her friend G. L was trying to play the proper hostess and say hello to everyone, but simply needed to get her mind of the family tonight.

So I picked her up and brought her with me to the birthday party G was throwing for my mother. The first 90 minutes or so was a social chitter chatter of a mix of mom’s bridge, bells, church, and family–of which L is a member. Then, as guests started to leave, mom, G, L, & I sat down to chat for awhile and catch up.

I was really happy that L came. I know that it’s hard when a parent is ill, especially if you’re a distance away. If she had been stuck in the hotel this evening the family would have all been after her to make this decision, make that decision, what should we do about daddy, etc.

So I’m glad she got to come and enjoy the company of two dozen women that knew nothing of her mother and relax with her oldest and dearest friend. There are some that might say it was inappropriate for her to be with us tonight, as she should have been in mourning for her mother.

But without moments like this, where you celebrate life among the living, what purpose is there in being morose and morbid. Let her enjoy the time she was able to escape from her problems and relax among friends.

We love you, L!

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