Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Coming Together

Yesterday was my dear friend Angela's funeral service....it was wonderful to see all those people I care deeply for, even under the saddest of circumstances.  I could feel Angela in every corner of that church.  You don't think she'd miss that, do you?!  I could picture her taking it all in, chuckling at the comments of some, scolding others....  when the priest started to talk about Angela, he really nailed her personality.

He had the opportunity to visit her at the hospital before she passed, and even though she was unable to speak (torture for her), he got the idea that she was ready to go.  He noted her frustration with her muteness, and we all agreed that Ange wouldn't have wanted a life of "existence".  This was a woman that personified the adage "Carpe Diem".  Boy howdy, did she ever seize HER days!  So, being reduced to a weakened individual without the luxury of communication through speech, was not going to be the acceptable life for our friend.  Indeed, if she could not seize every day with her usual vigor, then I believe she really was ready to go.  
I take comfort in that, and know that she is happy and free.  We cry because we will miss her with all our hearts.  I could not stop my own emotions from taking over periodically throughout the day.  Not surprisingly, I wasn't the only one.  Angela was so loved in that community, and she truly touched people from all walks of life.

There was a young man who came into the church with a poncho and a substantial fur hat like they wear in Siberia.  Well, Old Forge being what it is, small town and sometimes peppered with small minds, there were audible murmurs and little gasps.  As if to convey, "What is HE doing here?".  I didn't know this man, but I know Angela did.  I remember sitting on her porch and talking about a young man that apparently took a shine to Angela.  She explained that he was thought of around town as being a little "strange", and that people avoided him.  Not our Angela.  She had her own mind and made her own character analysis of people.

Imagine, this young man, whom everyone thought was so "strange", an opinion I am quite sure he was made aware of, bothered to take the time out of his day to say goodbye to someone he admired.  At this time I would like to point out that there were many people whom I remember from our time living in Old Forge that did NOT show up.  Now I find THAT strange.  This man, knowing he looked...God forbid...different, took his hat off, and smoothed his hair while he stood in line to greet the family.  I don't find that "strange" at all.  I find it hopeful.  Hopeful that there are more people like him in this world, willing to put themselves up to ridicule from the small Peyton Place mentality, in order to pay respects to someone who treated them with decency and respect.  May all those that gasped, commented, made fun, or otherwise thought unkind thoughts about this man learn something from his courage.  If Jesus walked among us now, would he try to blend?  Or could he very well come in the "strange" package that this man walked in?  Food for thought.

So, in closing, I would like to remind all of my readers to be kind to those you might at first consider "strange" or "different".  They may be the only ones at your funeral.  Angela was an amazing woman with the capacity to love without boundaries.  I will strive each day to make her proud of me. 

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Remembering Angela

A very dear friend passed away this week, and the world lost a little bit of its light.  Angela was the type of person that stole your heart before you knew what was happening.  She had a sharp, sometimes wicked (!) sense of humor, didn't mince words, and had a laugh that was so infectious, before you knew it, you found yourself cracking up.

Ange was always there to smooth the rough edges, join in the fun, correct a negative behavior, or bring common sense to hysteria...she knew dwelling on or ranting about something wasn't going to fix it.  She had this way of putting things into perspective that left you feeling relieved, even if the situation was not resolved.

When I was pregnant with my son, I was fretting about what I was going to do since his father was no longer in the picture.  I remember I was to the "hand wringing" stage, and Angela looked at me with what I like to call "the look", and said simply, "What are you worried about?  God feeds the birds, doesn't He?".  That simple statement, said with such conviction, immediately switched my gears.  That was over sixteen years ago, and I remember it like it was yesterday.  I recall those simple words again and again when I am feeling anxious or stressed.  Angela was my rock, and I'm not sure she knew to what extent.

There will be a hole in the place that Angela occupied in my heart.  She touched so many people in so many different ways, yet she would argue with me about that if she were here now.  She was most definitely one of a kind...a rare gem in an otherwise harsh world.  I will miss her every day, but I thank God He brought us together those many years ago.  I am the better for knowing her.  God Bless you, Angela, and may you find the peace and wholeness you so richly deserve.  I will love you all of my life.

November 20, 1931 - January 13, 2010