Saturday evening, a neighbor of mine mentioned that her son's soccer coach's wife died. She had brain tumors and her son was named N*. Well, when I heard that, it all clicked even thought Amy had mentioned the wife's illness to me in the past. I knew this woman 8 years ago. Being new to the area, I joined a mothers' group and Trish was one of the ladies who was in my small discussion group. I didn't stay with the group very long. But every time I ran into Trish, she remembered me and we'd chat. It feels like only a few months ago I ran into her at the grocery store. We chatted for a few minute and exchanged kid updates.
I knew that she had battled this cancer for years before the baby. That her son was a miracle in itself...for her to have gotten pregnant, let alone being able to carry him. She was always a breath of fresh air. Cheery and smiling.
I told Amy I wanted to go the viewing which was tonight. And then today was busy and I was tired. I actually didn't remember about the event until lunch time today probably. By dinner time I was exhausted. Ugh. I had second thoughts about going. No one would miss me. I wasn't FRIENDS with her. Ken's Webelos den was having a meeting tonight...HERE..in my house. But then it happened. That feeling to just go and do. And I quickly changed into a dress and hopped into the car. Small miracle...although there were 6 or so families here NO ONE parked on the right side of the driveway so I could easily pull out without interrupting the Cub scout Meeting.
I walked into the funeral home and heard abuzz. A cheerful buzz. When I went into the viewing room, I spied Amy and her boys and Randy. They were chatting with young N* and looking at his scrapbook. After chatting for few minutes, I turned around and saw a couple of other ladies that I had met in the mothers' group and periodically ran into them in the community.
I got in line to pay my respects...and then the woman in front of me turned. SHE was someone I vaguely knew. We went up the the widower together and introduced ourselves as we had only known Trish. I commented that I felt a lot of love in that room and that it was a testament to her life and her personality. That she was always so friendly when we'd run into each other at the store or at the library.
What an experience! An "unwordable" experience.
Driving home, I recalled the student address given at my college graduation ceremonies. It was a fun, witty talk. The speaker posed the question "How do you know you are an adult?" Or ready for adult responsibilities. He had posed it to all sorts of people he had come into contact with. For him, his way of knowing...was by the amount of keys in his pocket. The more keys, the more the responsibilites one had. That resonated well with me at the time. I had a car key, house key, a key to my boss's house as I tended to her home when she was on extended business trips, the boss's car keys, even a key to the School of Social Work DEPARTMENT office at Miami....yep...I had keys.
But now, I don't think I have that many keys. One to the car, two to the house. I have Ken's car key on a different ring as I rarely drive it. And one for a cabinet at church that sits in my church bag. Yet I have much more responsibilities now than I did when I was 21.
Now, these responsibilites are done even when I don't feel like doing them. Getting up in the middle of the night to take care of a baby, taking dinner to a sick friend even when it is inconvient, holding my tongue more, knowing more and saying less, going to a viewing of an aquaintance from long ago...
Perhaps these aren't responsibilities. Not sure if there is a name for it. Just doing. Being wiser. Maturity.
After a week or so of looking to the past and wondering about "what ifs" and "maybes," I am glad to have had this experience and these thoughts. And recognition that I am wiser and stronger and perhaps even on track to where I need to be.