Yesterday found me traveling an hour away to my former town of Hampshire. A friend from my past had died and it was the day of her funeral. I worked with her for a few years at the little card shop in town. It was a small store, operating without even a cash register. We were both creative and had fun decorating the windows, making wreaths to sell, teaching candlewicking (where we would sit in the window and give a private lesson) and doing seasonal displays in the store. We became good friends. Outside of work...we got together with a group of women to do crafts...at one time, selling our things at craft parties. We were in the garden club together, but the most fun of all were the crazy social parties...which became the Red Hatters... years later.
The Church was packed, because everyone loved her. A long line going into the Church with her family along the aisle to shake hands and hug. When I approached...many of them said, "Ahhh the painter." I didn't know that she had purchased my artwork and had given it to all of her kids. They all said that they had something of mine hanging on their walls. I painted pictures of their houses on shingles too. It was time for the service to begin and later on Father Nnaso said that Marcia was one of the "Church Ladies" Her talents had graced the Church, by making it beautiful for holidays etc. Her gardener's hands made the Church property pretty with seasonal flowers and arrangements for the Altar. He went on to say that we had a bit of Marcia on the Altar, as she had made the banners hanging on the wall and even made his white vestments. I didn't know that she could sew until yesterday. The Mass continued and after it was done...her husband gave his eulogy. Tears and laughter filled the Sanctuary, as he told story after story about their life. We should all have a marriage like theirs. We shared a meal downstairs, made by many of her "Church Lady" friends. It was time to leave. On the way home, I thought about my life in relation to hers. I think that listening to the messages at funerals and weddings...can sometimes help to strengthen us. I know that some things I do can be done better. I resolved right then and there to be kinder and trust God more. I know have some work to do.
When I got home, I crawled into bed with my clothes on. I was really touched by this woman's life and the message that was given. The phone rang just an hour or so later...it was my cousin's daughter. Her Mom had just died. I wrote about my cousin, Nancy, just weeks ago. My daughter and I had traveled to Iowa to see her...she had been fighting cancer and was going through chemo. I had asked what we could bring...she said, "A turkey sandwich" I made her a whole turkey breast and we took her a wig and enough yarn to keep her hands busy all winter. I'm so glad that we went to visit. We had the most fun weekend...trying on the wig, laughing, sharing meals, and just plain visiting and remembering. Her son was there and my daughter...they both heard family stories that they had never heard before. Oh, I'm thankful that she was able to enjoy that weekend. She died a relatively easy death. She had just had a chemo treatment the day before... She was tired and went to bed for a nap... when her son went to check on her...she was gone. I was shocked, but not really. She could have lingered and really suffered later on. I had just talked to her last week. She had a cat scan and was told the tumors were shrinking. It's shocking to get that phone call...though, when you think that she's doing OK.
So, I lost two women in my life yesterday. One a friend from the past and another...the sister that I never had.