Ellie, Loretta and I planned to celebrate Ellie’s birthday on Sunday. We had a rather full plate; Loretta wanted to attend a memorial for a friend and Ellie wanted to go to a family celebration of her cousin Rosemary’s 65th year of being a vowed Catholic nun. The memorial service and the family celebration were both open houses, scheduled from 2:00 until 4:00. We believed we could get to both if we started early enough. Loretta wanted to leave the memorial before a scheduled 2:30 program of some kind.
The restaurant was not at all crowded. Unfortunately, almost as soon as we sat down, Loretta realized that she was feeling quite ill; “If I had felt like this when we left, I would not have come. Kind of woozy, a little nauseated.”
Not good; Loretta clearly needed to go home, and both Ellie and I wanted her to do that. Fortunately, we were not far from Loretta’s. Ellie took her home, I waited, and Ellie came back in what seemed like an instant. I wrote in my journal while waiting.
We drank a bloody Mary, ate a leisurely breakfast, had a bite of dessert. A major topic of our conversation was our concern for Loretta and how she was feeling.
We returned to Loretta’s, expecting to find her sleeping, or in bed, certainly not feeling very well. Wrong on all counts. She was up and about, had eaten a piece of toast, and was interested in determining what had taken us so long to get back. She still wanted to go to the Memorial Service.
It was well after 2:00; we’d never make it before the program began. The afternoon was looking like an exhausting expenditure of energy on disconnected activity, something each of us disliked. “You could go to Rosemary’s celebration and represent us,” Ellie said to me.
“No, no, I hate that kind of thing,” my gut said. “Well, yes, I guess I could,” I actually replied. Though I am not fond of going into large social gatherings alone, I did not hesitate to take up this task, and I was quickly on my way.
I had been to this location several times. I parked the car further away than I was accustomed to and noticed, as I walked in the brightly lit spring day, that I was looking forward to the gathering and eagerly anticipating seeing some of Ellie’s cousins.
After some searching inside, I found the gathering. Some familiar faces were missing but plenty of familiar ones were present. I paid proper respect to Sr Rosemary, spoke to several of Ellie’s cousins and their spouses, told the story of why Ellie was not with me at several tables, and was told that I was doing a fine job representing us. “However,” more than one of them said, “both of you better be at the family reunion up north on June 20. You got the ‘save the date notice,’ the actual invitation, and now I’m personally reminding you.”
When I walked back to my car it occurred to me that I was nearly weightless, and it wasn’t the fine spring-like weather. I had quite enjoyed myself.
Several years ago, had this need come up, I would have fought, covertly I am sure, to avoid doing it, and I may have been successful. This time, virtually immediately, I was on board with this idea of going alone. Someone asked what the difference is, several years ago until now. “I’m still growing up,” is the answer I came up with. “Spiritually and emotionally; it’s an exciting time.”
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