May 18, 2011

:: choose wisely ::

may 11, 2011

i went to my first jewish funeral today. the fact that the funeral was a jewish ceremony has little (if anything) to do with this post, but i felt that because it was a unique experience for me, it was worth noting.

i was moved beyond words at the touching things susie's family and friends had to say about her. her sister and best friend spoke about growing up with the joyful, kind, passionate and loving lady. i don't know for sure how either of them were able to muster the strength to stand in front of friends and strangers and share their memories and feelings during such a sad time, but i have a pretty strong idea that susie's own strength was a large part of that.

after her best friend of 35 years spoke, another one of susie's dear friends approached the pulpit (i'm not sure if it's called a pulpit in a temple). she said she was going to share susie's own words with us. susie had been ill for some time, so her death wasn't unexpected or sudden. she had prepared a speech (for which she was well known, i learned) for all of us. and it was amazing. in it, she shared memories of loved ones, stories about her childhood, her courtship and proposal, tales of parenthood and the love & pride for her sons. she mentioned her great fortune in being born to two wonderful, loving parents and how that shaped her entire life. she spoke of love, faith, hope, the past, the future. through it all, she spoke of happiness.

the friend said that susie believed happiness was a choice and she chose it every day, in every thing. i didn't know susie well. in fact, i only saw her a couple times a year in the few years i've known her. but my impression at each of those encounters was that she was sincere, humorous and full of life. there was never mundane small talk. when we spoke, she seemed to really be in the conversation, in the moment, caring about what was said. she always seemed happy. now i know that she was - because she chose to be.

the last time i saw susie was at our company Christmas part in December. i found out today that it was the last time she was well enough to go out in a social setting. i hope we made it a good one for her. i know for a fact she was happy to be there.

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