Tuesday, April 24, 2007

On Tears and Joy

Years ago, when I worked for Majors* Department Store, I met this really cool woman named Elaine and her daughter, Lisa. Elaine is probably one of the greatest women you will ever meet and always felt like a surrogate mother to me and many others. She is bright and funny and she raised a kick-ass daughter.

*Fake name.

Elaine suffered from a massive stroke this weekend. The left side of her brain hemorraghed. I received a call from Lisa this morning and was told that Elaine has passed on but it was very peaceful.

Before Elaine left us, I was able to spend some time with her at the hospice and I have to say that this was probably one of the most uplifting experiences I have ever had. The room was filled with family and friends and I was able to connect with old friends and meet possible new ones. We sat there, talking with each other, laughing and remembering. There was flirtation with a Jimmy John's manager by one of the women. There was jewelry being made, cross-stitch and rug hooking in progress and it felt so much like a craft night among friends.

We talked to Elaine, remembering past experiences and talking about new ones. We told her it was time to go and how much we loved her. We decided that there would not be a traditional funeral but we would go out and have drinks and maybe go sing karaoke (one woman said "And we can take Elaine with us, after all, she is being cremated"). There would be no dark colors, only bright ones in celebration of Elaine.

And while I am sad that this beautiful woman is no longer with us, I am glad that she has moved on and will be watching over all of us.

I hope you are all well. If I haven't mentioned it lately, I'm quite fond of all of you.