I said goodbye in the company of family and friends to the wife of a long time acquaintance yesterday morning. I'm sure she would have preferred a more measured leave-taking but life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.
Sheila left Nigel and their two children, Samantha and Ryan, very suddenly earlier in the week. As I learned yesterday her husband's final act of their marriage was to administer CPR three times in a desperate effort to save the life of the woman he had loved since first seeing her when he was ten.
The filled room, hushed except for soft and quiet sobbing of those still processing the enormity of their loss, was witness to the celebration of her life. I've known Nigel for the better part of a decade and a half and I learned again, no matter how long or well you think you know someone, there are some journeys they make alone even in a crowd.
There are no words from my lips or keyboard or anyone else's that can help heal the hole in his heart or in those of their children. Today, tomorrow or in any way, shape size or form for many days to come.
The celebration of her life yesterday caused me to remember so many, too many, really, parent organized dinner and a movie nights in the gym at Buckingham School when all of our kids were a lot younger (us, too, come to think of it).
Sigrid, Sheila and the usual suspects of the Mommy Mafia would organize huge portions of pasta which disappeared often in near-record times to feed hungry children as their husbands battled the world's oldest projector and prayed it stayed running long enough to get us through the family flick. It usually did and everyone went home happy.
Yesterday, only Sheila went home. The rest of us will have to learn to deal with a little less sunshine everyday for the rest of our lives.