Sunday, November 22, 2009

emotional day (m)

My neighbor's brother died this week.  49 years old.  Lung cancer and yes, he smoked but it still stinks.  M was a special guy.  He was born with several handicaps...mentally and physically and struggled all his life.  He did odd jobs for his brother (my neighbor) including mowing the lawn.  He would sing Polish songs at the top of his lungs.  Some of our other neighbors were appalled.  I would open the windows so I could hear him better. 

When we first moved into our home 12 years ago, my son Harrison and my neighbor's daughter C were hanging out together in my living room one day while I unpacked boxes.  I guess I didn't notice they left the house.  Some time later, the doorbell rang.  I looked out and there is this strange-looking man holding the kids' hands...Harrison in one hand and the girl, C, in the other.  Turns out the kids went to her house and M found them by the edge of the pool.  Harrison was only four years old and didn't know how to swim.  I have no doubt that he saved their lives. That was how I first met M.

M's funeral was this morning, Saturday.  My neighbor knew we were in New York last night and were staying over.  She told us she understood if we didn't make it to the funeral.  There was no way I was missing that funeral, so we left New York at 5 a.m and drove back to Massachusetts.  The funeral was a spectacular send-off for a very special guy.  It was emotionally draining, but beautiful.

Got home, unpacked and remembered we had a 50th birthday party for a woman I don't know that well.  I was so tired from the week I just wanted to curl up in a ball and sleep.

We went.  It was a huge bash.  We sat with interesting people including a professor from Notre Dame who is with the United Nations, specializing in issues affecting migrants.  We debated health care coverage for illegal aliens much to the chagrin of our tablemates.  The woman next to me told my husband he looked like Dick Cheney.  That stopped all conversation.

The daughters did a video presentation for their mother.  Old photographs, set to music.  It showed a woman who loved her family....lots of silly Halloween costumes, special birthday extravaganzas and lots of trips throughout the world.  The eldest daughter thanked her mother for the gift of music and sang a song to her.  I was in puddles by the end.

I don't remember what I ate today. 

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