Thursday, October 11, 2007

Bye Al...and thanks!

I used to "belong" to a local UU church here in town. For reasons that don't really need discussing, I no longer wish to have any association with said church. No, nothing bad happened. It's a church much like any other I suppose - I just found it to be a little too dysfunctional for me. Now, don't ask me why, but with me there tends to be no middle road. I either like ya or I don't. I either wanna or I don't. But, more than all that, the fact is that if something or someone or a situation makes me uncomfortable, I tend to just sever all ties. Now, as you can imagine, this doesn't always work out real well, and so in the past few years I have been learning about things like boundaries and tolerance. And that contrary to my popular belief system, there actually are some emotionally safe people in this world (though I do a pretty darn good job of finding the ones that aren't). But I digress., I'd even go out on a limb and say often, there is a treasure to take with oneself out of a situation that - well - for lack of a better word, pretty much sucked. And, I have a few of those gems from that church experience. A couple of very dear friends. A great experience being a youth advisor and (I hope) making a difference for some teens. And there is one gem that really stands out for me.

Back in 2001 - 2002, when I was attending church nearly every Sunday, I joined the church choir. Now at the time, I was living in Londonderry. There was a couple who belonged to the church - they were pretty old, I guess I figured around 80 at the time, but they were very active in the church, in fact, they were part of the glue that kind of held the place together. Every Sunday they were there. And one of them belonged to the choir. For reasons unknown to me, he didn't drive. The wife always drove them. And, well, sometimes we had to be there early for practice, or stay late. And the wife approached me and asked if I would be willing to provide rides for her husband so he could attend practice. At the time I was unemployed, and even though it was a teeny bit out of the way, I was the one person who lived closest to them and by a slight stretch of the imagination, you could even say they were "on my way" (if driving about 10 miles out of the way counts as "on the way").

And so, for the good part of a year I drove my friend back and forth most Sundays (except for one time we were doing some evening thing and I remember his wife packed us both supper - roast pork sandwiches with applesauce - omg, best thing I ever ate!!). And we developed quite the friendship. He talked about so many things. He was such a gentle and wise person, with a smile for all and a very special way of looking at life. He saw this Earth as a treasure, and was an active voice in his community for things like preservation. For me, our rides were like being in this little bubble. He had this energy that just made ya feel good for no reason, just being around him. He lived a very full and satisfied life and he touched alot of people on his journey.

My friend...his journey ended last weekend at the age of 93. I hope he slipped peacefully away into wherever it is that we journey to next. I found out about it in a really random way.

And now I am trying to decide what I want to do. I will make a donation in his memory to Star Island Corporation. And, there is a service being held on Saturday at the church. Part of me wants to go. I mean, really wants to go. And there is also the part that just doesn't want to have to deal with some of the people that will be there. And I hate that about myself. It shouldn't matter who is going to be there, right? There is no law that says I have to engage in conversations I would rather not have, or converse with people I don't want to, right? There is just this part of me that wants to be invisible in situations like this. Oy. To the point where I am going back and forth between going and not going. I guess I'll just keep praying about it and I'll know in the moment what makes the most sense to do.

The thing is, there are only a handful of people who have touched my life like that, and I would like to honor that.

K, sorry for such a downer of a post! Other than this, life is good. I gotta take some new pictures of Zuni and Rusty this weekend, they are so cute together. Zuni has been perched on the desk while I have been typing this - first eating, now bathing, with a time out in there for a snuggle with mom. I swore a few years ago that I would never have cats again. Oh, I've had some wonderful kitties in my life, but I also had kind of a bad experience after living with too many cats. So, I'm going to keep it at one cat and one dog.


Caroline said...

Your friend sounded like a very nice man. I'm sorry for your loss.

marion said...

Your post about your friend was beautiful and an honor to his memory.

Jackie said...

That wasn't sad at all. Your post made me smile and cry at the same time. He sounds like he was a beautiful person, and what a nice memory you have of him.

You'll know if you need to go to the church or not, either way, you've already honored him.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely tribute to your friend. He sounds like he was a very special person.

I agree with Jackie and Marion; you have already honored his memory.

Daniknits in MO said...

My husband runs a funeral home, one oif the ways people get around having to talk, see people they dont necessarily want to is to come early to visitation(before stated time) or show up before the service to say their goodbyes. It not only helps them to avoid the ones they dont wanna see it also most generally gives them some private time with their friend or loved one that they might not be able to get any other way. I also agree with the other posters that you gave a very loving tribute to a beautiful friend.