A mistake of lasting memory

You may remember back in October when I wrote about the loss of my dear friend, Lisa. It was a shocking tragedy that left us all reeling and paralyzed with the pain of living life without her. But sometimes in the midst of life's sorrows, situations can evolve that offer a sort of gift in the wake of our sadness.

Back in October, with a six-week-old baby, I was unable to attend the memorial services for Lisa at her hometown in Pennsylvania. Many of her other friends from this area couldn't make the trip either so we decided to put together a memorial of our own to honor her and say goodbye. We didn't want to wait very long since the wound was so fresh for us. So, as is the case in most unexpected deaths, we worked diligently and quickly to pull together something that we felt was profound and meaningful. 

In consultation with some of our friends, I drafted the program we used for the memorial. Now I have never been one to remember dates very well. Without a planner in front of me, I'm lucky if I can remember my own mother's birthday, let alone the birthday of all those close to me. Whether it was because I was in a hurry or exhausted or in a complete fog, for some reason I neglected to look up Lisa's birth date in my own records. In looking at some material for her memorial, I saw a date and I went with it.

I remember thinking at the time, March 13th doesn't feel like an important date in my memory... None the less, I went on and didn't give it much more thought. I had a speech to write and I wanted to spend most of my energy on finding the right words to bring comfort to myself and the others attending her wake. I printed out all of the programs. I posted a copy in this space. Perhaps everyone else was in their own fog of grief or maybe no one wanted to make me feel bad, but I stood uncorrected on Lisa's birthday.

Enter last week, March 8th to be exact. I see Facebook posts sharing messages of missing our beloved on the date of her birth anniversary. Oh. My. Heavens. I KNEW IT!!! Yes, I printed an incorrect birthday for Lisa's service. Not only that, but about two weeks ago I emailed some of her family and said I would be thinking of them on the 13th. I'm sure they were like, What is the 13th? Don't you know? It's Lisa's incorrect birthday!

The best part of all of this is that I can predict Lisa's reaction to my snafu pretty much to a tee. First she would have been offended. Then she would have pretended to be offended. Then she would have laughed her butt off and held it over my head for the rest of my life. I would have gotten a call from her every year on March 13th and she would have said, "Hi Sara, don't you have something to say to me today? Is this a special day of some sort?" I can even hear the smile behind those words, as she would have certainly found it all hysterical in the end.

That I can still know my friend so well and feel that sense of her energy, even in her absence, feels like an incredible gift. It gives me a sense of comfort and reminds me that though she is gone, her essence truly does live on in her spirit that she shared with all of those she loved, faults and all.

Lisa, my dear friend, you always found humor even in the darkest situations. I am so grateful that your essence carries on and I can still hear your laughter in my heart. So whether it's five days late or right on time, Happy Birthday! Oh how I love you.

No comments: