Saturday, October 11, 2008
A Time for Remembering.
Paula would probably hate me for doing this but I'm going to anyway. I want to talk about her and remind us all - especially myself - that life passes quickly. Too quickly. I took the day off work Friday - October 10, Paula's birthday - to attend my friend's life celebration. She died of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease.
Paula and I attended the same high school. Isn't she gorgeous. Her hair was always perfect! We were friends, had lots of fun together and then both went our separate ways. Last time I saw her was at least 20 years ago at a high school reunion. That's a lot of time to let pass and a lot happened.
Paula didn't want friends to visit her out of curiosity and see her in a wheelchair. She didn't want a funeral service either. Not even an obituary. And she certainly didn't want anyone to hold a life celebration for her. However, she raised two extraordinary daughters who admitted they didn't always "do what Mom said."
Her brother, who was in my high school class, spoke at her service, as did both her daughters. There was also a slideshow, so I got to catch up with Paula. She was full of fun and life and a wonderful mother. She took her kids skiing, to museums, played with them, taught them to be responsible people, climbed Mt. Hood, loved her grandchildren and was never bitter about the cards she was dealt. At the end she made her own decision to withdraw the feeding tube that kept her body going.
In the slideshow there were so many wonderful photographs of her laughing, loving and having a great time living. The Mister and I talked it over and wondered if anyone could put together such a reflection of our lives when the time comes. We immediately made plans to have some pictures taken of grandkids on our laps - and Paula would be the first to laugh at such a thing.
Later in the evening we attended a concert with the Portland Baroque Orchestra, playing some of Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons," and that was a magnificent ending to the day. All the lovely joy in the music reminded me of the beauty in the world - in music, art, friendships. Baroque violinist Monica Huggett played an 18th century Dutch instrument and this is just a short clip. I hope beauty finds you today and every day - femminismo