Saturday, September 09, 2017

some quiet tears

The memorial service was this afternoon. It was nice, it was well-done. There were points where we laughed, remembering her (the best funerals/memorial services, I think, have points where laughing is appropriate and entirely right - you are remembering the good times or the things that made the person unique).

One thing I realize - I looked up to Margaret (even though she only came up to about my shoulder). In some ways, she reminded me a bit of my maternal grandmother - she could be a bit tart and strict, but once you got to know her, you realized how loving she was.

(I wonder: Am I the only one who keeps on seeking out people who remind me of people I love who are either gone - like my grandmothers - or who are far from me, like my mother? I had one former colleague (who is now a member of the church I belong to) who reminded me a little of my mother and I always felt especially kindly towards her because of that).

But anyway. A couple people did memorials to her (which was good; it sounds like the minister has a bad cold and I am bracing to be asked to maybe do the scripture reading tomorrow). One thing two of them (both family members) emphasized was her strong sense of right and wrong, and her firm belief that you should always do the right thing, even if it's not convenient, even if you're not thanked for it.

One of them mentioned her love of Western movies (like, John Wayne) and opined that it was because there were bad guys and good guys, but that the good guys did the right thing, and they won in the end.

That's probably partly why I liked her: I have kind of a similar sense of the world, even if as late I find myself getting discouraged when I see what seems to be the full weight of people doing wrong and not caring that they are doing wrong, and how often those who try to do right are stymied. (I admit, that "doing right even when not convenient" comment was where I started to cry a little. I don't want us to lose all the people who believe that.)

She was only about 10 years older than my parents and I suspect came from a somewhat similar milieu and had similar ways of looking at the world. Which again, may be why I understood where she was coming from and liked her.

She was also a schoolteacher for many years, and continued to tutor special-needs children after her official retirement. And apparently kids had a special feeling for her - several people talked about how their children had liked her and opened up to her.

One thing her relatives did - apparently they had gone through and packed up her home office and found all her old photos, and they made a big display of them, from photos of her as a small child, and as a schoolkid, and as a teen (a v. funny and wonderful picture of her and one of her young friends, standing on a footbridge over a stream or river, eating a giant slice of watermelon). And her wedding picture and it made me smile because her husband (whom I also know and who died about 10 years ago) really hadn't changed over the years....and photos of her in her classroom, and playing golf, and going camping with her husband, all the things she enjoyed.

I love that kind of thing. I've said before my preferred way of remembering someone I loved who is gone is to have photographs of them taken when they were in good health, and happy, and doing something they enjoyed. I know some people keep urns with cremains around; I don't think I could do that - I don't think I'd want that. I DO want photographs, so I can look at them and smile and remember the happy times.

 So yeah, I feel kind of sad again. But that weird happy-sad that you sometimes feel after things like this - sad that she's gone out of my life (and sad that she suffered so much, and so stoically, in the last year and a half of her life), but happy I knew her.

I have to kind of dry up a little (yes, I'm having a little private cry in the privacy of my house) and change back into jeans and go water the field plots and then probably mow the yard.

it's been kind of a long day. (I started off with three hours of checking plant names; I probably have 5-6 hours left of that, based on the rate I went today. But then I also have the whole Asteraceae to do, and I know that's been overhauled extensively in the past 10 years, so I know that's going to require a LOT of changing.)

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