Today was a very emotional day. It was remembrance day at church, where those who have passed in the prior church year are remembered. I love how our minister does this because he does not focus on the "big" things about the people. Instead it is the little things, like how one woman was a shoe a holic and the other a Trivial Pursuit fanatic. Yes, they did amazing things as well but it is the little things that we humans (or at least this human) sort of enjoy remembering the most. The little things bring them closer in our minds. It has always been so for me. I remember my mom's second husband saying "boy o boys" whenever the kids and I would arrive and how he would laugh because KC always brought him a small rock and put it in his walker basket. Sure he was an amazing UU minister and did amazing things in his life, but it was that phrase that always calls him to mind for me.
This Sunday long time friends also got up and announced that they have relocated to another part of the state. Stan has retired and Deb loves the ocean. They are not inaccessible by any means, but it FEELS so incredibly far away to me. I love them both, but Deb especially has been a friend, mentor, a touch stone in my life for many years.
When we came to the church way back when, Chet was in 8th grade. (he is 29 now for a reference point.) Deb was the director of the church school. She was amazing and helped give Chet experiences I am not sure he could have had otherwise. Despite his autism, he participated fully in a Coming of Age program and grew under her kind and firm tutelage in ways I could not have dreamed possible.
She was still the Director when we began the adoption process and brought Robbie home. When we tried to adopt Fiona and failed miserably. When we adopted KC. By the time we adopted Lissa she had passed the diretorship torch on to another wonderful person. But we remained friends. She was a person I could confide deeply in, share joys, share sorrows and fears in equal measure. She celebrated with me when I became Fiona's guardian, knowing full well how deeply I felt about the fact that Fi had been unable to live with us.
And now she will be gone. Or at least a lot farther away. I won't see her smile on every Sunday morning as I have for low these many years. Or get that encouraging hug that she always magically knew when I needed it. We will stay in contact via the net, but it will be different. I knew we were supposed to be sad but also to celebrate this next chapter in Deb and Stan's life together. They have earned this retirement, in a place that they love and want to share together. But my soul was too busy grieving to do more than have a really fake smile through my tears.
Which reminds me of how our kids felt coming to us. Leaving the life they knew and joining a family where virtually everything was different. Where a new family was so happy that they were there. Where they lost their first families, in part or in whole. And how we had all smiled through lots of tears. Loss always hurts, even when something "good" is coming out of it.