File this under “something i do not want to do for a long, long time”
This afternoon I went by the visitation for the family of Jeff Wallace. I hugged his wife and daughter and said hello to his son. And I looked at the pictures and took a quick glance over at the casket, then quickly back to the pictures.
There were dozens of pictures of Jeff with his kids and Renee. Doing a hundred different fun things. Just like they were last weekend. Then in the blink of an eye, it was all different.
When I saw sweet 5th grade Alex, I couldn’t help but think back to the hot August day in 1978, when we layed my 35-year-old mother to rest in the small Center Chapel cemetary. I was 14 and my sister had just finished the fifth grade. My mom had faught a valiant fight against cancer, Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. It finally got the best of her one early August Saturday and then later that week, we celebrated her life, and mourned her death.
And then, within an hour of her funeral, I played wiffle ball all afternoon. With my cousins and their friends, in the side yard of the family farmhouse, ("over the barbed wire fence is a home run") while all the aunts and uncles and cousins and parents were inside eating sandsiches and drinking lemonade, we played wiffle ball in our JC Penny suits.
I have no idea why we played wiffle ball. I guess it was just because we didn’t know any better. Life had had changed in a teriffically, horrific way and we just didn’t know what we didn’t know. So we just did what we did know, which was to live that moment, and hope that it made it OK to look to the next moment.
And so my heart breaks for Renee and Alex and Taylor. And there are no words or no songs, and it seems, no prayers, that can even begin to be appropriate. The only thing to do is to remember, and smile, and cry, and wonder, and question, and cry, and laugh (a little), and cry, and beat the table, and live life (a little.)
And I pray that you will find the strength to live this moment, and look to the next.