Irony, Coincidence, Early Warning System
What ever was playing with the strings of my life Sunday wasn't plucking hard enough to catch my attention. I sat in the crampy back seat of my friend's blue Cougar, contemplating which position would be more comfortable or in the very least wake up the sleeping portion I was balanced on, as we traveled east on 70 towards Baltimore and the National Aquarium. I didn't know anything was amiss. It was my niece's birthday, she turned a glorious six at nearly 4 feet tall. My little amazon. My thoughts were mixed between seeing her later that day and my excitement at visiting the fish.
Such small, simple things. Each bringing joy in its own way.
After a long period of silence, each traveller engrossed in his or her own thoughts, I began going through the pockets of my purse to find the treasures within. I hadn't used the purse in a number of months, my discoveries showed as much. There were some snippets of paper with carb counts from a diet I had been on, some folded up bits with my name in Mayan glyphs sketched on them from nearly a year prior, and a tiny pamphlet. My mind went blank when I saw the pamphlet...so I took it out.
I saw the faint church and rainbow that lightly adorned its surface and froze. Oh. Yeah. Andy. He hadn't been a close friend, I'd only met him once. But it had been enough. He had left a lasting impression on my life. A friend of a friend, he had gone to Juniatta and graced them with his strong presence. His joyful smiles. His happy and caring nature. And Jaime had brought him my way at her first annual Thanksgiving feast. I walked through the door, he looked at me, smiled and spread his arms out for an embrace. I was immediately taken with him.
People like that shouldn't be taken away so early in life. He shouldn't have been snatched away at 22 in his sleep.
Coming across the pamphlet, something I couldn't bring myself to discard and yet didn't know quite what to do with, reminded me of how hard the funeral was on Jaime. There had been so many people in the tiny church that day, easily fifty or more friends pressing in on the tiny Catholic church filled with family and neighbors, that we had been forced to stand. We had gotten seperated by the rest of our group. She and I had stood at the back, hovering over the last pew sniffling and sobbing into wads of tissues. I held my friend that day, knowing her suffering was worse than mine and not knowing what else to do for her.
I slid the pamphlet back into the pocket on my purse, where it remains, and tried to thrust the sudden saddness away from my happy day. Miles away someone else was crying.
At 11am I will attend another funeral with Jaime. This time her grandmother's. I will lend her my shoulder, hand her new tissues, and shield her from the scathing comments of her psychotic, freaky Baptist mother who told the dying woman she was going to hell because she celebrated Christmas and wasn't a true Christian.
Yeah, the woman's crazy...remind me to tell you why the Grinch is the only true Christian in that story.
Hrm..things were worse than I thought. She didn't just lose her grandma Saturday, she lost her grandfather too. And his kids didn't like her grandmother or her family, so they won't tell her where or when the funeral is. She may never know.