Cheers, My Friend

Tonight, I attended a wake for a dear friend of mine.  His mom just passed away last week.  It was a tough night.  Friends, family, co-workers, old relatives, it’s always heartbreaking and humbling to see so many that cared for one.  When that one was as special as this lady, it makes sense.  She raised a son by herself for over 15 years in a country she was not born into.  She did it with an iron loving hand.  I don’t have any great stories about her; just the legendary Scottish brawls her and her son would erupt into (which of course, within ten minutes would turn into love again).  But, at one point in my life, when I was a stupid post-teens fuck up, with no where to live, she offered me a bed.  That was the kind of person she was.  She opened her house and heart to any and all that came over.  She hosted 2 Thanksgiving dinners I was invited to; they were amazing.  There’s a warmth to her house, you’re always comfortable there.  She made people feel that way.   I’ve never forgotten when you helped me in my time of need.  I’ve never forgotten what a generous, kind soul you were and by the attendance and emotion in that building tonight, many others will not.  Rest in Peace, Kathleen.

As for her son, I’ve known him for over a decade.  Tonight, as I saw his beautiful daughter stand at the casket and say her goodbyes, tears welling up, and him standing over her, looking down at his child like only a father could, my heart went out to them both.   I also watched, as he stood over his mother, and sobbed, involuntarily, still cracking jokes while weeping.  My friend, who lost his father at a young age, my friend, with a lifetime of pain and injuries from doing something he loved in playing football, my friend who always fell in love hard, many times with the wrong woman, my friend, standing beside him with the right woman, carrying his child, to be born in a week, my friend, whom used to tell me how badly he wanted a son or daughter to love, my friend, whom I saw bent over like a hunchback cooking at a bar he didn’t want to be at to provide for his family, my friend, now having to bury his mother, but staying strong for his daughter at the same time.  His daughter is a lucky girl; just as he was a lucky boy because he had a strong parent.  He’s the kind of Dad all of us strive to be. He’s the kind of man we , no, I strive to be.  Strong, back straight, stare adversity in the eye, face down sadness and grief, and still joke and stroke your daughter’s hair when she’s sad. He’s the kind of man I look up to.  So, Steve, if you ever see this, I love you and and I’m proud and privileged to have known your mother and to know you.  It’s one of the best things of my life.  I’m so sorry and I’m here for you.

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