I went to a funeral today. It wasn’t anyone that I was close to, or a family member; the person was someone I knew from work and was a good friend of my mom. The woman was a favored customer at my pharmacy and someone who deserved far more than what she had in life.
Kathy was a woman who had a strength of spirit that I wrote into many of the heroines in my stories. Someone who cared deeply for the people in her life and made their lives brighter just for being there with them. Her will was strong and her ethics were almost impeccable. To say she will be missed will be an understatement. Already, the woman she worked with find their office to be less bright and lacking the vibrancy that it once had, but to hear them remember her was well worth being there to hear.
I only knew Kathy briefly. I met her when I had visited my mother at work while out running errands one afternoon when we were to meet for dinner and some extra shopping. (at the time, I depended on the city bus and had no car of my own) She was the first one mom introduced me to and from that first moment, I knew she was someone special. She had a smile for everyone even when she didn’t feel like smiling or even getting out of bed in the morning.
For her, pain and suffering were a big part of her life and made sure to not let either get the better of her. She worked up until the very last. In her passing, I find her to be an inspiration to keep striving and to not let my short coming keep me down. I’m sure, if she knew me better, she would tell me to quit procrastinating and just write and work. Don’t let anything, or anyone, hold you back but don’t forget that your family will always be there to help boost you toward that goal.
I recall the several times she has come to my pharmacy to pick up her medications. You could just see the pain in her eyes, but she always put on a brave face and a smile. Sure, she got irritated with us when things would go wrong but we’d do everything within our power to make sure she got what she needed before she left that evening.
Sitting there at Kathy’s funeral, I saw her family gathered together in the front rows and the rest filled with friends and most of her co-workers, and I thought of the last funeral I had attended last year. Seeing how many appreciated and cared for her brought tears to my eyes and a smile knowing she was probably looking down at us to see just who was there for the final good-bye.
Arlene’s funeral was much the same though I think there were a lot more in attendance. Her family filled the first few rows and the rest, plus additional space was everyone who could take off that day to be there. Her family was just as astounded as Kathy’s was, and appreciated the thought. Manager’s who had left were there. Co-workers who had moved on appeared. To me, Arlene was more than just a boss, she was a friend and she helped to inspire the main character in my first novel; a fact she was proud to know.
Just as then, the tears that were shed were tears of joy. Joy because I knew, and know now, that there is no pain or suffering where they are. Both are still inspirations in my life. While the world isn’t as bright without Kathy, or Arlene, or the others I have seen pass in the last few years, it has been enriched by them and still feels the ripples of their lives flowing outward by those who lives they touched, no matter how briefly they were there to touch.
So, to Kathy, Arlene, and others I have known before their passing, I miss you and hope to one day see you again. May your time in my life be worth it in some small way and the inspiration great. Rest in peace my friends. You deserve the memories of all those who have met you in life.