Saturday, October 12, 2013

A Bittersweet Juxtaposition

Today, for the first time since the holidays, I'm taking a planned personal day off from my clients and paperwork.

The first order of business is the memorial service for my sister-in-law on my late husband's side of the family. Sharon Cascadden lost her valiant fight with ovarian cancer recently. Rest in peace, my dear lady.

My own kin, the Cooks, and my family by marriage, the Cascaddens, have always been so far-flung, it's been too easy to lose touch. In the past few decades, it seems the only connection we have experienced has been when someone passes away. This further emphasizes the personal urgency I wrote of following the Burbank High School reunion for the class of 1972. For me, with everyday life going on as usual, it has been often all too easy to say, "Oh, yeah, I need to call (fill in the name(s)), and then have that intention forgotten amid mundane household and career tasks.

Sharon, I so humbly apologize for my taking you for granted lately. Your life was an inspiration to your family, and everyone else you touched. You seemed so upbeat and hopeful when we spoke on the phone just a month or two ago. It was always on my mind to call back again whenever I got home after work...and then, to see news of your passing during a chance survey of Facebook.

I'm so ashamed of myself for all the times I've gotten "too busy" to maintain connections with those who should be vitally important to my existence and my identity.

I must come today to pay my respects and reconnect with your family, no matter what distractions exist in my life. Stopping the momentum of everyday distractions and demands runs counter to my usual mindset, but it's vital I do this. It's a matter of making amends as well as paying respects.

Then, in the late afternoon, it'll be time for a stop back home to change clothes--and mood, the best I can. Tonight, I'll be seeing old high school friends I've only kept up via Facebook pictures and posts since our magical reunion night on August 18, 2012. Now, joy at socializing and festivities will be taking on another meaning for me.

Oh, to embrace anyone I can, and not lose touch! Everyone is a piece of me, keeping me alive and existent. I'm reminded of a quote I learned in Mrs. Conery's English class in my sophomore year at BHS:

"No man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee."
John Donne (1572 - 1631), Meditation XVII

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