back in september chad and i went to a memorial for an alumni parent. she had died in the spring of complications from heart bipass surgery. the auditorium was full--she was a very social person and had a huge network of friends. it was very nice: two hours of people saying nice things about her, complete with a slide show of her throughout her life with her kids, her husband, and her friends.
afterwards, in the reception that followed, somehow the bereaved husband was left standing alone, looking lost and confused. as we spoke to him, i found myself saying how lovely the memorial was and how much "jane" would have liked it.
i am an idiot. what a stupid thing to say. how ridiculously uncomforting. the poor man was heartbroken and i did nothing to help. it doesn't matter that she would have liked it because she wasn't there. she didn't get to hear all those nice things, or see how moved people were by the slideshow of her life. and she wasn't there to help her husband get through this. the reason for a memorial is that the person isn't there anymore.
but because of this whole cancer thing, (it's always about me, isn't it) i have recently gotten to hear some people say some nice things about me, telling me about something i did for them sometime that meant something to them. i don't necessarily remember doing those things, which means they could be confusing me with someone else or making it up to make me feel better, but regardless, it was kind of them to tell me and has made me feel good. and i am grateful to be here to hear it.