I am always thrilled to be a part of a wedding. Having married many couples, it is always fun to see the bride enter, smiling, elated, and thrilled of the adventure with their mate. Looking over and seeing their partner next to me, in awe, overwhelmed with emotions, and happy. This wedding was special, it was my cousin. Someone I babysat, grew up with, and now I stand in front of her in awe of her life’s journey. As I gave her the vows to repeat, she stopped and said, “Those are beautiful words.” She is very nervous in front of people, I smiled, “I didn’t write them, people have been saying them for hundreds of years.” Everyone laughed. Marriage is a time of new beginnings, adventures, healing, forgiveness, and growing with the self and another. The ebb and flow of life with another.
When the ceremony was over, we partied. Enjoyed good conversation, danced, and of course sang the YMCA, which always makes me laugh. My 4 year old daughter and I danced all night. If was very special and wonderful.
The next morning I awoke and got in the car with my Dad and drove to SF. A family friend was dying. hospice was there now, tending to her. Patsy had been a part of my life. since I was born. She was adopted by a Croatian couple, little did Patsy know they would make her a maid. She would wake up, take the bus to the hospital and do the laundry. She would come home to see the couple and do their laundry, cook, clean, and wash them, then back to sleep to do it all over again. She worked at the hospital for 45 years. She never dated, married, or had any family. My grandma became friends with Patsy and began to bring her to family parties. Patsy was always smiling and fun. She was like a great aunt.
In her room the Hospice lady said the fight was over, she had 24 hours or less. I sat with her, as my Dad made plans for the priest, funeral, etc…Her eyes were blue, like a child’s eyes, she was shaky and tired. As we sat there, I was amazed by the beauty of death. Most of us run from it. Death is the final expression into love. I sat there and thought of the party the night before and the celebration. Now I was sitting in a cold room, alone with a Hospice lady and my Dad. No fanfare, no celebration, no other people around, and it was breathtaking and simple, profound, and beautiful. I love death. I really do. I love being around the dying. As you sit with someone, the stories they had fall away, as they come back into light. Their bodies get lighter, and there is a sense of AWE on their face. Almost like a secret they just discovered but can’t tell you now.
Patsy passed away at 9 pm pst Sunday.