|Little Gregory, way back when. Check out the buzz cut and the bow tie!|
Edythe had left written instructions for the party we were to have after she died. When everyone had arrived, her husband, Lou, welcomed everyone and made a short speech explaining that Edythe had wanted a party instead of a funeral. Then he said (to our surprise) that she had left something to be read aloud to the guests.............and then he began to cry. Stoic, dutiful, highly logical and rarely emotional Lou was crying and it broke my heart. Through his tears, with his voice choking up, he said he had asked his grandchildren to read Edythe's words to us in his place, and so the two youngest ones did. The note was very simple, something to the effect of: "Have balloons, and lots of good food, and play music that I liked from the 50's, 60's, and 70's. Everyone have fun and no tears.......okay, maybe just one or two tears!! and remember the good times we had. I love you."
Then a few of the older people told a few stories about Edythe, but Lou's sadness had struck a somber tone at that point so they were limited. None of the children or grandchildren wanted to speak, except just before we wrapped up that part of the party Gregg's sister gave a wonderful short speech praising Lou for taking such wonderful care of her these last few years. She told how he had abandoned his own friends and hobbies and spent every day taking care of her. He diligently researched every drug she took, every diagnosis she received, every new treatment that came out for her issues. He waited on her, bathed her, kept her medication sorted and reminded her to take it each day, drove her to all medical appointments, and through it all maintained the patience of a saint and never once complained. It was a beautiful speech and I was proud of her for giving it. I doubt there was a dry eye in the room when she had finished. After that, everyone was invited to eat and mingle, and it felt more like a party again.
Lou did a good job planning everything. He had spent hours on the computer, compiling over 400 photos of Edythe taken over the course of her life and worked it out so that they were scrolling on the big TV in his den. Everyone kept going back to it to watch. There was music from the 50's playing softly in the background. The dining room and kitchen had big platters of finger foods and desserts along with paper plates and napkins so everyone could mill around and talk while eating.And yes, there were balloons. In every room.
We got home very late last night and were both utterly exhausted. I'm still kind of tired today, and my feelings seem very tender at the moment. It feels like Edythe is truly gone now and there's nothing left to do but miss her.