Monday, July 21, 2014

A Bittersweet Homecoming

This is our family home in Chicago.  We lived there for many years.
It is changed from when we left 20 years ago.
 Funny that both my brother and we parked as close
 as possible to the old house
and walked to the Church just around the corner.
 On Friday, I returned home to Chicago, my home Parish and our old home.  The occasion was the Memorial Service for my friend Ed.  I posted about him here..  Ed went missing back when he was just 22, and his remains were just identified this year.
 It was an emotional day.  Seeing Ed's Father and Sister was especially hard, but they were so happy to see us, and we were greeted so warmly. Both Ed's Father and Sister told us a story of how once Ed was going to see me, but Ed's Mom was afraid that my husband would object. The memory made us all laugh. We were friends, and because of our years together in the Young People's Choir, more like family.
It was a day of many happy reunions. Dear friends, familiar faces. When I saw this lovely lady I was overjoyed.  This is Mary.  We worked together at a local savings and loan when I was just engaged to my sweetheart, till I became pregnant with our daughter Kristen.  Mary was such a wonderful example...she did more by 9am then most people do all day.  Taking care of a very large family, she would bake, do laundry, clean, prepare dinner all before working a full day at the bank.  The thing I remember most was her kindness and her ability to forgive those who were sometimes unkind.  After an incident that would make anyone angry, she would turn around and do something wonderful, killing the offender with kindness.  I may have overwhelmed her with my enthusiasm to see her, but she really made an impression on this then young woman..
 Many friends were there.  Unfortunately none of my contemporaries were able to attend.  This made me the "senior" choir member.  My brother Larry played guitar and lead us in a couple of songs.  I confess, most of the time I just cried.  The flood of memories and all the ghosts that filled the Church, dear family and friends who are now gone, the tears just fell.  On the last song, I sang as best I could.  If Ed had been there he surely would have made me laugh.  It was a beautiful memorial and the goodbye that came after 28 long years of wondering.

When I was young, daisies were THE flower...along with babies breath.  When I saw these on our walk
it reminded me of many many happy times.  You cannot help but be introspective after saying goodbye to a friend who never got to grow old.   In my memory dear Ed will be forever young.

May Ed rest in peace.  I hope he knows how loved he was, and how I will never forget him.


babs said...

Penny, memories do lend us comfort in our time of need. May he and the family and friends have peaceat long last.

Lynne said...

Beautiful post Penny . . . gave me goose bumps.
Wonderful so many of you went back to be together, to remember, share stories. Tears, memories, sharing and laughter are truly gifts . . .

Debby said...

It is so wonderful after all these years to have closure and to celebrate with family and friends. He will finally rest in peace.
My Colorado kids just left tonight. We had such a good visit. As always the house is quiet and its a little sad here. Back to the ole groove tomorrow.

Melanie said...

What a beautiful post...and such a lovely memorial for Ed.

Charm Bracelet Diva {at Home} said...

I remember when you posted about him, Penny. A sad occasion to be sure, but hopefully it was also a helpful one, allowing for much needed closure. So sorry for your loss. I, too, had a friend who died too young when we were in high school. I still have the Tom Petty album he lent me right before he died. I also wonder what he would have been like if he had had the privilege of growing up like the rest of us. Hope your healing is swift, friend.
xo Kathy