Monday, January 21, 2008

Durham memorial followed by sadness

Posting to the blog has been hard for me lately and it doesn't have anything to do with time. I can usually find time to write if I'm in the mindset. The anticipation of Debra's memorial was weighing on my mind more than I even realized. Planning a memorial is something I never expected I'd have to do, especially for Debra. She was the event planner, not me. So I became a little paralyzed by the idea of pulling off the memorial. All in all, I think it went over pretty well.

We held the local memorial for Debra yesterday amidst the biting cold weather which wasn't accompanied by enough snow. All day I kept saying I just want the day to be over with. From my perspective, the celebration was beautiful. The service was scheduled for 4p on Sunday at our church, ERUUF. All things considered, the service was well attended. Many people from the UNC Health Science's Library where Debra was employeed attended the service, as well as a good representation from our friends, Sofie's preschool and elementary school population, my family and even a few co-workers of mine! I was especially pleased to see several counselors from our beloved Camp Kesem! We were worried the bitter cold and holiday weekend would keep people away, fortunately that wasn't the case at all.

The service began with a welcome from our minister and followed by Sofie lighting the chalice. A wonderful eulogy that was a tribute to the Debra that many people in NC didn't know that well. I was pleased he focused on her parenting and love of Sofie. After the eulogy there was silent meditation followed by Barbara reading a May Sarton poem. The Comman Woman chorus did a nice rendition of "Season's of Love" which was followed by an open sharing. Alan shared a heartfelt Thank You from all the folks back in the Bay area,a childhood friend of Debra's talked about a younger Debra that none of us knew, Debra's boss Carol spoke about the impact Debra had in her short time at UNC and Sofie ended the sharing with a story about how Debra told her donuts were called bagels. The chorus then ended the service with the beautiful song, "Everything's Possible" which is one of my favorite lullabyes. The amount of love in the sanctuary was overwhelming at times. So many people just wanted to support me and Sofie and our loss...and that support was felt ten-fold.

Following the service I shook many hands, met many people associated with Debra's work at UNC, chatted and reconnected with people I hadn't seen in awhile and whirled about the Fellowship Hall making sure I thanked everyone for attending. I'm sure I missed many people, but I hope they know how much it meant to me and Sofie for them to be there. For the rest of the evening I was in a haze, exhausted from all the activities. I want to thank everyone who pitched in and helped with the festivities. You gave unconditionally and I appreciate it more than you can imagine.

Today I've been under a cloud of sadness. We're nearing the end of getting Debra's things out of the house and that makes me sad...she really is gone. Often, as I read an email or hear a story on NPR or somewhere else I think to myself, "I need to tell Debra that" quickly realizing I can't tell her. It'll take time for me to stop saying "we" and not wanting to tell her the latest gossip or news. The sadness will fade and life will go on. Sofie and I continue to grieve and though it seems like we're fine, there are days we're both sad and weepy. It'll get better over time...this I know.

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