Thursday, February 21, 2013

Happy Birthday Bobby

"Bobby's life was full and happy because of his faith, his family and friends who supported him through thick and thin," Phelps said. "He died young but content."
Louisville Courier-Journal, 5/25/2007

Bobby McAlister/The Bob Man
February 21, 1982 - May 24, 2007

Friday, February 8, 2013

On Goodbyes

Our lives are full of goodbyes.  I imagine I bid some form of farewell six or seven times a day.

There are the quick and casual ones - the "see yas"...
The tentative and worrisome ones - the "be carefuls"...
The full and meaningful ones - the "it's been so great to see yous"...
The difficult and unexpected ones - wordless sighs and bitter tears.

And there are the final ones.  The ones like the goodbye I am preparing for tomorrow. 

Tomorrow is the day we put dirt on the box holding the form that, until Monday, held the soul and great beauty of this amazing woman...

Anna Marie Lowe filled 95 years of life like a child fills a bucket with wildflowers.  Joyful discovery was part of every day.  Vibrant color, earthy origins and delicate design dependent upon the touch of a loving Creator - this is what Anna Marie brought to the table of Life.  Much will be said about her over the next few days...stories I cannot match in closeness or intensity.  Still, I am eager to say she was a model for me in so many ways: a calm in the storm that was early parenting, a quiet and inspirational musical genius, a poster woman on aging with grace and acceptance. Although I have seen her infrequently over the last twenty years, I know a piece is about to go missing from the puzzle that is me.

But it is the nature of the goodbye that has me distracted today. 
It just seems so blessedly easy. 

Although Anna Marie did not suffer long with an illness or ever lose her ability to recognize and converse with friends and family - it just does not seem a bit unusual or particularly awful to send a 95-year old woman on to the Glory she believed in so deeply.

It is, quite seriously, a celebratory occasion.

Except I am sad today over the absence of sadness. 

I am truly no fan of the line, "She's in a better place," when someone dies.  I know from weekly reports that Anna Marie was weary of probing doctors and tiresome food chewing and the pull of gravity.  Perhaps she was ready for a better place - but, selfishly - I'd prefer to have her here.

I do not enjoy phrases like, "Oh, she's dancing in heaven with the Lord," when I lose someone I love.  I am absolutely certain I'd rather be taking Anna Marie out for Chinese food tomorrow than putting a rose on her grave and trying to imagine her happy dancing with God.

Still - I cannot conjure up any genuine sadness. 

It will break my heart to see her devoted husband of 70 years stand by her grave tomorrow.  It will touch my Mother Soul to watch her two sons in the wake of their loss.  It will, no doubt, move me to tears when we sing, "For All the Saints"...

But I am not really sad. 

Oh how very much like Anna Marie to leave me wandering in this patch of angst as I face tomorrow...

It is a field of fragrant, eye-popping, celebratory Love...
Even in the last goodbye.