This weekend was spent celebrating the life on my fabulous Second Mom, Shelly – which culminated with a wonderful celebration at the home of the Chair. Well, people said it was wonderful. Of course, what else would they say in this circumstance? Well, I suppose they could choose to say nothing. Though that is seldom the case with my family or friends.
And besides – it was fabulous.
Instead of a funeral, for decades Shelly told us all she wanted was a party where people ate, laughed, told stories and had fun. For those of you who haven’t been to a life celebration for a cultural Jew at the home of a cultural Jew and a lapsed Italian Catholic – both are whom were raised in N.Y. – let me just say it will probably take about a month to get rid of the smell of deli food and smoked fish from the house. Not to say that there isn’t another room that reeks of sugar and has remnants of chocolate chip cookies, black and whites and babka. And note: I am sure of the latter because the pooch seems to be obsessed with any number of corners or crevices in spots she usually ignores in search of the last remaining morsel or crumb.
I kind of don’t want the place to ever be fully clean because that means the celebration will be officially over. On the other hand, who says that has to be true? My experience with death is that it’s awful, hurtful, horrible and inevitable. Yeah, you’ll find no false bromides here. Still, after awhile what I have also experienced simultaneously with all of that pain is the joy, good fortune and exhilaration of having known someone in your life who touched you so significantly as to make you feel so deeply awful about their loss. I’ve come to realize that is a celebration in itself that never ends.
It is in this sense that you never fully lose anyone. You can’t because no matter how upset, bitter, angry or sad you become there are moments when you will also be able to remember something silly, something wicked or still something else that was just plain them. And it WILL make you smile. Eventually. Even when you’re sure that it never will.
Of course I could just be fooling myself into believing all this crap because it makes me feel better. That is a possibility. And certainly, it wouldn’t be the first time. Nor the last. However, I don’t think so.
In honor of Shelly I leave you with our usual song – but one I forever associate with her. Yes, she loved Neil Diamond. But I mean, who didn’t in the seventies? And even now?
See ya at the deli counter.