This has been a very hard week for me. My mother, who was nearly 97 died. I guess most people would say "97 is a good long life and no one lives forever" - and when we knew she was failing I thought I had convinced myself of that. However, deep down, I always thought she was immortal and I've found myself weeping unexpectedly over the smallest things for days. To make this week even harder, one of my classmates from our small and close knit graduating high school class died the same day as my Mom.
On Friday, we gathered for a service for my classmate, Bill. His family had a lovely ceremony with a slide show of pictures of Bill over the years and background music. I wasn't that close to Bill and was unaware of most of his good life and close family. However, music touches all of our lives, and the music reminded me of so many good times with so many good people who are no longer with us.
I still might have kept it together, but my friend from high school told me a touching story about my mother writing to her after we had all parted ways expressing sympathy for a sad event in her life. Another friend told me my mother wrote to her when she went away to college. And, of course, my mother wrote to me when I was far away from anyone I knew - even when I wasn't very good about responding.
It takes a special adult busy with their life to take time to write to a member of the next generation. It reminded me of people from my life who had done that for me: My friend Lyle's Mom who wrote to me when I was in the Army and my Aunt Dorothy who was my pen pal over many years. As I lay awake looking at the ceiling and pondering the meaning of life last night, I realized that true immortality is found in the words and pictures we leave behind.
A lot is lost in our current snap chat type world where we write in abbreviated code that is immediately erased the moment it is received. And where we send pre-programmed on line cards that disappear into cyberspace, sometimes even before they're read. So I'm in the old school that believes in the written word and cursive writing even while I enjoy Facebook, email, and my books on Kindle.