Friday, June 3, 2011

PostHeaderIcon Cara: Bittersweet

June is always a funny month for me. It's my "baby" and my "honey's" birthdays so there's a lot of celebrating and fun. Throw Father's Day in another party/BBQ. All fun. It's always much anticipated since I am "stick a fork in me I'm done" done by now. Done with school, homework, driving all over town, sports...done.

This June as things 3rd grade or 10th grade, it's also full of a lot of "lasts" this year too. With a HS Senior in the house you know it's the year of lasts but when June comes it all hits home. Last school trip, last homecoming, last concert (which I literally sobbed through on Tuesday night), HS yearbook and reading all of her friend's goodbyes scribbled inside, last time seeing my kid on the school stage singing the National Anthem, remembering the first time she did it in Middle School and how I thought I would pass out from nerves.

Last night was Senior Awards night. As always my girl made me proud as her name was called several times to receive scholarships. She teased me about crying again. I wasn't crying tonight. I was good. Until a certain boy was called then it was all over. His mom passed away two years ago. His mom would have been on her feet applauding. (that's after she probably would have been out in the hall setting up the refreshments for later) His mom was my friend. His mom showed me that being part of the PTA is important and worth all the drama and work it brings. His mom is the one I "talk" to when I am again jumping in with both feet cause "it's all about the kids". At the risk of repeating myself I will share with you a blog post I wrote the night I went to her wake. I hope you find something there that you may need to hear today.

November 2008:
I cannot believe I was at a wake again. This time a mom. A mom that was a friend through PTA. If you know anything about PTA you know you can find some amazing people there. (some incredibly annoying people there as well, but again another post )

This person was the first person that I met when my PTA journey began 11 years ago. She was the first person to reach out and make me feel welcome. She would always say hello if she ran into me in the store even if she didn't know my name yet. We worked together on various PTA things over the years. We would always chat, compare "mom notes" as her two children are the same age as my older two. She was just good. She was an advocate for the children of our town, and always got the job done. As the years passed I became more involved, now one of the old timers that have been around the block a few times. I've done it...from class mom to PTA President. And throughout it I remembered to treat people the way Julie treated me. I always tried to and I think I have.

She got sick about two years ago and we saw less and less of her. But then she was on the mend, back at work. Saw her a few times over the summer. Her "new" hair grew in and we joked about  blondes having more fun. School started and I realized I hadn't seen her around. And on Monday I got the call. Then I knew why I hadn't seen her lately.

I couldn't coordinate with other friends on a time to go together so I went to the wake alone. The whole town was there as I knew they would be. I have never felt alone in a room full of people before. It was surreal. I just stood on the line not speaking. Just smiling at this one and that one as they made eye contact across the room. Now I am not the rock for people when they are grieving that I would like to be. I usually am of no use. I don't handle all this well. So I was scared that I would make a spectacle of myself when it was my turn to approach the casket. But I didn't. She looked at peace after being in unbearable pain. I was happy for a minute that I was able to touch her hand and say goodbye. I just turned and walked out of the funeral parlor and cried all the way home...cried for her children and her husband, all of her very sad friends. I felt in my heart what is every mother's greatest fear. 
I have sort of been asked to mention her at a huge family basket ball game night we are running on Friday for the school district. The money we raise will now go towards a scholarship in her name. I have the words I should say. Someone helped me figure out what they should be. But how. How am I going to say them? Now as you can see from the thousands of words just on my blog I am not usually at a loss. I am trying to pawn it off on someone who could really be the person to do it rather than me. Cowardly I know. And I am usually not a coward. But I am scared I won't do it right, or I will break down or God knows what.  

I quote.."As for you my fine friend, you are a victim of disorganized thinking. You are under the unfortunate delusion that simply because you run away from danger you have no courage! You are confusing courage with wisdom. " ~The Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz
Am I? Confusing courage with wisdom? Do I think because I am scared to do it, that I don't know how? I do know how. I have courage. Courage to go to a wake alone where my heart broke as I waited on that line. Courage to go back to my nice warm house afterward, where my little boy was waiting for me to come home to watch an oldie but  goodie on tv, and put a smile on my face so he would not know his mommy was crying. Courage to not get lost in the "what if this happens to me" and know to just be grateful for what I have and where I am. Courage to do the right thing even if it's the last thing I want to do.

So if I have to speak I will. I just hope, no I know, Julie's got my back.


Anonymous said...

I knew Julie too, she was a wonderful wonderful woman... I remember going to the wake and being shocked by her sister that looks exactly like her. She made a great impact on me too.

Lisa Kennedy

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