Today in My History

2000:  Walking with God
2001:  Just an Ordinary Morning
2002: 
Sweet Smell of Success
2003: 
The Toddler in My Head
2004: 
Finally Here
2005
A Thing of the Past

2006: You Want Me to Draw You a Diagram?

IN MY OPINION
The Martian Child (feature story)
Whistle Down the Wind

Books Read in 2007
 
Updated: 11/06
"Copper Beech"




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National Brotherhood Week
The Elements
Tom Lehrer
The Masochism Tango
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(updated 10/2/07)


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Michele's Memorial

MA BELLE

13 November 2007

Remember that old Carson bit?  "I'm so tired..."  "HOW TIRED ARE YOU?"

I'm so tired that I am actually considering writing this journal entry tomorrow (the actual date of the entry!), so my compulsion to post my entries before going to bed is wrestling with my body, every bone and muscle of which is aching and calling for sleep!

Shut up, body...I'm goin' in...

This is a report on the events leading up to Michele's memorial, and the memorial itself, as well as a bit about Cousins Day.

It does not bode well for a happy outcome of your day when you stop for gas on your way to dropping the dogs off at the dog sitter's and Lizzie, in her excitement, steps on the button which locks all four doors of the car...with your keys inside.  I had the foresight to leave the windows down a tad for the dogs to sniff the outside air, but not really get into trouble.  And my arm was too fat to fit inside the little opening in the window.  Fortunately, a wonderful woman named Mary, who worked at the gas station and who was afraid of the dogs, but took the plunge anyway, was able to fit her arm inside and unlock the doors.  Crisis averted.

I dropped the dogs off at the Martinezes and then Walt and I headed off to the SF airport to get Tom.  We were only about 15 minutes late, so timing worked well.  After the nightmare of getting around on any freeway the day before, the light traffic was a godsend.

It was so good to see Tom.  It's always good to see our kids.  We went to my mother's in San Rafael.  Here's a map for people who don't live in California to get an idea of where we were going:


(The San Francisco airport is slightly south of So. SF)

We had a lovely afternoon at my mother's, with my cousin Peach and her husband Bob.  We had a nice dinner and introduced Tom to "65" (he won one game, I won the other), and we all conked out around 10:30 p.m.

In the morning we left early because we had to get to Oakland to meet Jeri (who had flown in the night before and had been picked up by her friend Joe).  Jeri, Ned and Tom were rehearsing the music they were doing for the Memorial ("Michelle, Ma Belle")

Around 11, we arrived at the Community Center where all the action was to be.  Char and I didn't make eye contact for about half an hour, as we did various chores in helping to set up.  When we finally did make eye contact, we did a bit of sobbing.  The day was like that.  People cried, laughed, remembered ... kind of like the celebrations we had for David and for Paul.  It's why you have these things.  It helps to get together with other people who understand how you feel.

There were a lot of people and as people spoke of their thoughts about Michele, we realized what we knew already--how loved she was, what a loving person she was, how she was a second mother to any kid who ever crossed her path, how much she loved animals.  There were emotional memories and funny memories, and all loving memories.

Tom sang, accompanied by Ned and Jeri; a friend of hers played a John Denver song ("Sunshine") on the flute.

We showed the slide show I'd been working on, projected on the big screen (it worked beautifully, thanks to the technical expertise of Tom, Ned and the guy who owned the projector), and at its conclusion Jeri played "Amazing Grace," which had the expected result of leaving us all weeping.

Char and I talked about what we had all just heard in the memories, listening to our kids talk about what Michele meant to them, and Eric talking about how this was all one family and that's really what is the worst part...it's not that we were all justfriends all these 30+ years, we were family.  A family that we chose, rather than a family of blood.  Our kids grew up as brothers and sisters (or at least cousins) together.  Every mother was every kid's mother if the blood mother wasn't there.  The women in the group have been more like sisters than just friends, so this is like losing a close member of our family.

There was also more than one person who talked about the things they "meant to do" with Michele and now regret never doing.  I didn't speak (I can't trust myself not to fall apart if I try), but I remember how many years we have been "going to" visit them at their house in the foothills and never did.  Now we'll go up there to be supportive of Richard, but Michele won't be there.

So it was a real wake up call, yet again, to not put off those things you've been meaning to say to someone, or do with someone.  Don't stand around at a celebration of someone's life and say "if only..." or "I thought we'd have more time..."  We have today, this moment.  It's all we can count on.

Which brings me to a last note, and that is about Cousins' Day.  When we returned to my mother's, they told us that Kathy had called and was very sick (Kathy is the one with emphysema, COPD and is on oxygen much of the time).  She said we would have to postpone Cousins Day.  Since I know how desperate she was to get us all together and how eagerly she had been awaiting this day, I know that this must be pretty serious and we're hoping that she's feeling better soon.

We only have this moment...make the most of it.

I'm going to make the most of it by going to sleep.  I will have a video of the memorial tomorrow; today I just have a bit of "jamming" that went on at the rehearsal.  There are photos here.  (Not too many photos; I took more video than photos)

PHOTO OF THE DAY

The "Pinata Group" present:
BACK:  Rich, Mike, Char, Tim, Bev, Dana, Eric
MIDDLE:  Pat, Tavie, Jeri, Richard, Ned
FRONT: Jenny, Walt, Tom, Cam

 

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