Saturday, I drove down to Lincoln to attend Darlene's memorial service.
I left in plenty of time, but somehow I missed the turnoff for Hwy 193. I ended up in Sacramento before I realized I had gone too far. I turned around, and eventually found the turnoff. However, the case of the missing exit cost me time: almost 30 minutes.
I wasn't sure what to do. Would it be bad manners to walk in late? Should I go anyway? Or should I just head back, take a side trip to the mall so I could have a piece of low carb cheesecake at Max's and then head home? I wasn't sure what to do.
All of a sudden a thought shot through the chaotic mess in my head: "Darlene's son is late. Go; the service is being held for him."
I thought, "That's weird" and promptly began to discard the thought and worry about what I should do. Since I couldn't come up with anything concrete, I thought to myself "What would Todd do?" Todd is utterly confidant and late all the time... I realized he would just go. So I headed the car in the direction of the church theater, and kept driving.
I arrived as I expected: 25 minutes late. I was nervous as I approached the doors to the theater. I noticed people walking out. Oh no! Could it be over already?
I walked inside, and saw lots of people seated in the theater, talking to one another. I headed on in, and immediately located a group of people I used to work with. They motioned me over.
As soon as I sat down, someone went up to the microphone and said, "We just heard from Darlene's son. He's about a minute away. As soon as he gets here and settled, we'll begin the service. Thank you for your patience."
Now wasn't I stupid for not paying attention to that thought when I had it?
Darlene's was the first civilian memorial service I've ever attended. I don't know how most memorial services are conducted, but this one was beautiful. She planned it all, down to the catered finger foods. She said she wanted it to be a celebration; that she hated sad, long, drawn out services. She didn't want the affair to be sad, and it wasn't.
Now that's not to say I didn't shed some tears. I did, especially during the slide show that plastered pictures of Darlene's life from babyhood to adulthood on the screen. And, when a few people spoke about her unending kindness, her ability to make friends wherever she went, and her courage in the face of death, well, yes, I shed a few more. But it wasn't really crying... just tears that expressed how deeply I felt her loss.
After the service, I caught up with the "girls" I used to work with. We made promises to keep in touch, and then went our merry ways. My way was to Max's for that low carb espresso cheesecake.
You didn't really think I'd give that up so easily, did you?