Friday, April 4, 2014

Remembering a Life

I went to a funeral yesterday, of Smith's preschool teacher. She was his first teacher, teaching the "2s". It was at a cooperative nursery school, so we parents became very close with the teachers, staff, and other children that were in "our" care on a regular basis.

Wendie was a good woman. She was one of those teachers that make you feel like your child is her favorite, that your child is the reason she got up in the morning to teach. She knew your child.

Smith, his 3rd birthday, and those are Wendie's legs. Don't have any digital pics of her!

Funny, I learned yesterday that she was like that with every child and adult and everyone in between. I'm not surprised.

The ceremony was beautiful - at a gorgeous synagogue, my first Jewish funeral service. I think I've been to most kinds at this point - Catholic, Methodist, non-denominational, non-religious, Episcopalian. The thing I liked the best was how inclusive this was - after the woman in charge (Rabbi-ett?) spoke, the family got up and said a few words - the husband, her two 20s aged children - then she opened the floor to anyone that had something they wanted to share about Wendie.

We sat and heard all the beauty and joy and love and friendship and support one human gave to so many others. How do you measure one's worth? Not one person spoke of the money she had or the the trips she took - but the way she knew each preschool child she taught for 20 years, or the way she would sit and listen to a friend, buy the special something someone loved from a yard sale, really hear what her children said as they went through normal growing up struggles. She was present in her life, active in her own script, joyful in her own way. She lived the life she had.

Age gives us experience. Hearing the beauty of a life well lived means something different to me now than it did, say, 10 years ago. Or, more accurately, 13 years ago, before the birth of my children. I couldn't help but think what people would say about me at my passing - what would my children remember? My husband? All the other people I've been around in life? Am I being true to who I am?

Wendie, to me lately, was an email once a month or so. I have fond memories of her and my time spent with her. I am glad I knew her.

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