Monday, September 18, 2017

Safe Travels

How do you say goodbye to someone who left too soon?

With tears and stories and wine. It starts with many uncomfortable greetings, acknowledging how great it is to see people and yet for such a sad reason. Most people are still at the stunned stage, somewhere just past anger.

There's a box filled with slips of paper and Sharpies so everyone can write a message to she who is no longer inhabiting flesh.

This part's easy. I know what I want to tell her and I know what I need to thank her for.

Eventually, we all go outside and gather around a small fire to pay tribute to her. Some, not all, people eulogize her, share anecdotes, raise a toast and lay flowers on the fire. When everyone who wants to speak has done so, all the notes are put on the flame to become smoke signals to the great beyond.

I choose not to speak, although I know exactly what stories I'd share. Instead, I wait until people begin moving inside and go stand by the fire to silently tell her all the things that matter. All the reasons I have to be grateful for her insight.

Where I feel lucky is with how many people share with me things she said about me. She once told me that my only responsibility was to keep being as fabulous as I was, but I'd had no clue she'd said such generous things to others about me.

Everyone praises her forthrightness, her live and let live demeanor, her ability to make everyone feel like she was happy to see them.

As the hours pass, the crowd dwindles to just a handful of people sitting outside as the fire dies out. More heartfelt toasts ensue because everyone left knew her well.

Well enough to know she'd have hated what we did for her tonight, even if she understood why we needed to do it.

All I can do is remember her kindness to me and her hope that I'd find the happiness she was sure I deserved.

All I can be is glad to have known someone so gloriously unfiltered.

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