One of my dear, dear friends in life left me a voice mail message yesterday, saying that she had something very important to ask me—that it wasn't urgent, but that it was important. She went on to say that she didn't know if it was inappropriate to ask me, and she wanted me to know that I had every right to decline, but she wanted to ask me anyway.
I returned her call this morning, and she asked me if I would devise and deliver her eulogy. I replied, "I know without a doubt that I can, and would love to, write it. It's the delivery I'd be worried about, as I'd probably be crying throughout its entirety."
She replied, "As I said, I want you to feel perfectly fine about declining the request, but I can't think of anyone else in the world I'd rather have do it. That article you wrote about me and Milton and Rhoda once, everyone who reads it comments on how beautifully written it is and how warm the sentiment in it is."
After we hung up, I wrote her this card, which I will mail in the morning:
Your request ranks as one of the highest honors in my life on this earth to date. Please be at ease knowing that no matter what I write, or how I deliver it, it will come from a heart and spirit that has been blessed by knowing you in our time here together.
Thank you for the highest compliment and affirmation that one could receive as a writer, and the ultimate honor one could receive as a friend.
I love you!
Shortly after that call, I returned a call to my aunt, with whom I'm arranging a dinner outing when I'm up in New England next weekend visiting the extended family with my parents.
Toward the end of the conversation, she told me that her nephew (on my uncle's side of the family, so not my cousin) died. "It was really, really horrible toward the end," she said. I wept for him, right then and there on the phone, even though I'd never met him.
Kenneth was one of the people for whom I rode in the 2003 Tour de Friends. I carried his name in my pocket over the four-day, 330-mile bike ride, and his parents, whom I've also never met, donated $100 toward the nearly $4000 worth of donations the generous friends and loved ones in my life contributed.
|Rest in peace, Kenneth.|
My sympathy card message to Kenneth's parents:
|Dear Al and Claire,|
I wept for Kenneth today when Aunt Vivian told me that he had died. I ran my finger over his name on the list I carried in my pocket on my ride for a cure in 2003 to which you so generously contributed, and by which I came to "know" Kenneth. Thank you for that opportunity.
In the coming months or years, if you yearn to tell a story to keep his memory alive, or just to talk about him, I'd be honored to receive a letter from you with a story about him in it.
Much love and affection,
"Oh, one more thing before we hang up!" my aunt said. "John, did you call into a show of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire to help out a friend?"
I told her that I had not, and she said, "Well, I'll be darned. I would've sworn it was you. His name was John, he sounded just like you, and at the end before he hung up he even said, 'I love you,' like you always do. I just knew it was you when I heard him say that at the end."
I said, "Well, did 'John' give his friend the correct answer? Because if he did, it could have been me, but if he didn't then it couldn't possibly have been me." She laughed.
I spent some time today beginning to go through the papers about my house that need filing—in anticipation of house guests I'm receiving this week: a friend on Wednesday, and my parents on Thursday.
Robert arrived at around 2:00, and cleaned my bathrooms (sinks, toilets and a tub), vacuumed the entire house, and swept and mopped the floors in my kitchen and three bathrooms. As always, Robert, I'm eternally grateful for your constant willingness and offering to do that for me.
I ran to Target tonight, where I bought another ottoman to match the one I bought last Sunday. The folks at CECE liked it so much, we bought a second one.
I also bought two light lamp shades to replace the heavy, dark ones in my living room, some Comet, some Magic Eraser (at Myra's suggestion), and three CPK Five-Cheese Pizzas.
Once home, I used the Magic Eraser on a rust stain (from the bottom of an air freshener aerosol can that evidently got wet at some point) that's been on my guest bathroom sink counter for about a year. Presto—like magic—gone! Thanks, Myra!
I'm about to close this thing down now and do a few hours worth of grad school homework. At midnight, I'm meeting Kevin (av8rdude) and his boyfriend Kurt, at Legends for the 12:30 show.