You may have noticed that I’ve been kind of an absentee blogger of late. When blogs go silent, I always find myself wondering, “WHY?” Is everything OK? Has blogger X lost interest? Just really busy? Suffice it to say that the answer to the 2nd question is a resounding “NO” I’ve definitely not lost interest, nor run out of things to talk about, I’m just hovering between answers to the first and last questions. I’ve been in a personal funk the past couple of weeks…some of which is due the to loss of a very dear member of my church family.
Despite being 40 years my senior, and a itty bitty physical form, my dear friend Bev had a joie de vivre that made her seem far younger than her 85 years. “Fine as frog hair,” was a typical response to an inquiry about her mood. Not even cancer could fully quell her huge spirit. Last November her oncologist informed her that she had about 4 months left on earth, to which she replied, “I’ll take 8.” In true form, she lived every minute of the next eight months…despite battling through chemo and the toll it took on her already diminutive frame. She was able to settle her own final affairs and stay in her own home until the end…entering hospice care for only one week before she died, surrounded by her loving family. Upon hearing of her death my mother remarked, “She really lived until she died.”
By the time one reaches middle age, funerals are a part of life as the elder generation ages and passes on. This funeral was different though…it was a first funeral service my children attended where they really knew the deceased. Bev’s funeral was as much a celebration of her remarkable life as it was a mourning of her passing. A spirit like hers lives on I think…in a myriad of ways. I found this out first hand while preparing the food that would be served at the funeral luncheon.
As you may recall, I do a little catering on the side – particularly for church related peeps. A few years ago, I catered a luncheon for my mom’s ecumenical church ladies groups, and Bev was among the diners. She approached me after and asked me if I would cater her funeral dinner…using the same menu. I immediately said, “Yes” and put it to the back of my mind since Bev wasn’t going anywhere right? A couple of months ago, she came to me and confirmed that I would still do this quipping, “just watch the paper – when you see my obituary, you’ll know to get cookin’!” All I could do was nod and laugh a little (while swallowing back a tear because I knew that this time she was serious).
So, that is how I came to spend most of last week preparing a “lite luncheon” for 125. Bev’s spirit was clearly on hand the morning of her service. Several months before, as she was cleaning out her house, she gifted me with her well seasoned Kitchen-Aid stand mixer. Anyone who cooks is desirous of one of these…even if the OFF switch is a little quirky. “The switch doesn’t catch all the way, so you have to unplug it to turn it off,” she cautioned me as I gratefully accepted her gift. Apparently, I forgot that little fact as I was mixing up the chocolate buttercream cake frosting…I unplugged, lifted the mixing arm to scrape the bowl and then (forgetting to lower the mixing arm back into the bowl) I plugged it back in…chocolate frosting went flying all over the kitchen. One of the other women in the kitchen said, “Bev is laughing now!” We all laughed together as I scraped chocolate icing off the wall. 🙂
The luncheon was beautiful – we welcome a lot of non member funerals at our church and pride ourselves on hospitality – but everyone pulled out every stop for this event in honor of a most beloved friend…a most beloved friend who was a big fan of Americana and Pepsi!
I was very happy to be able to honor her memory by giving of one of my gifts, and her family seemed genuinely touched by all of the love that went in to the preparations, so it was well worth the week’s worth of job catch up I’ve been slogging through this week. My career is the other area contributing to my current funk. I’m at a bit of a crossroads. Since the beginning of the year, the Dean of my academic school has been planning for me to take on a larger administrative role withing the school, but this role is still not fully determined…despite the fact that it was supposed to have started officially on July 1. As of today, six weeks from the beginning of the fall semester, I do not really know if or how my job and/or my income will change. I do not function well under this level of uncertainty…especially when I am already fully booked for the fall semester AND will be in Greece for over two weeks at the start of it.
I honestly don’t know how people like Richard Armitage, who’s professional life is a matter of perennial fits and starts, handle that uncertaintly. The number of “what ifs” I currently have in the air is exhausting – primarily because I can’t seem to force my brain to stop from turning the various outcome scenarios over again and again. Then, just when I think that I might run stark raving mad, one thing will fall into place and I can re-center again. That hasn’t quite happened yet, but I’m hoping it is around the corner…
because I’d really like a more permanent version of the peace I felt when I looked up last night and saw this….calm after a stormy day…in the sky above my house last night. (I wish I’d had a better camera on hand – here for some other views)