How things that you'd long since forgotten can suddenly just come back - just like that? It's been happening a lot to me the past few days - as I look back into my past, a bit of reflection concerning the events of the last three days.
I went to a wake today - for the person I wrote about in my last post. I won't name names simply out of respect for the family and if you know her, you know her name anyhow, so it becomes moot.
Anyway - today was her wake. It was surreal... I saw people I hadn't seen in almost 15 years, whom I'd forgotten all about, until I pulled into the lot at the funeral home. Then, I could remember everything from a 5 year relationship that resulted in a 2 year engagement and that ended thirteen years ago this past May. And I mean stupid little things that I'd forgotten, such as the summer of 1991, when we all vacationed on LBI and it was the first time I'd ever payed Balderdash. And what do I remember from this?
Shiralee (I'm spelling phonetically, here).
It means pile of blankets and not Laverne's roommate - as one player suggested. That was fifteen years ago (and I'm pretty sure there was a lot of drinking involved as well) and yet, I remember it. It was the same night we all decided that rhombus sounded more like a superhero (we dubbed him Rhombus - King of the Deep - remember, I said there was a lot of drinking).
When I walked into that funeral home, I was all right, considering. Then I saw her brother - the man to whom I was once engaged. And I lost it.
I hugged him.
I hugged his mother, who was like a second mom to me, whom I missed terribly after her son and I parted ways.
She told me that she thinks of me often.
We cried a little more.
I saw his other sister - and her kids, four of whom I never knew even existed. I saw her husband. I talked to the oldest boy, who was a baby the last time I saw him. And his brother, who would arrive a few months after that engagement was broken.
I saw a little girl who'd lost her mother - only she wasn't the 12 year old I remember, but a 25 year old woman and mother herself. How did that happen???
I saw a young man who was a kindergartner the last time I saw him. Now he's almost driving.
How did that happen?
I remember (and I have the photos as proof) holding him when he was only days old. I remember when he learned to walk.
He's almost 17 now.
I looked at my kids and I thanked God they were there and I could hold them and squeeze them. Once I told my daughter that she could be 50 years old and she would still be my baby.
I couldn't imagine - not in my worst nightmare - sitting at her wake. Knowing someone had such little regard for human life that he decided her life was worthless.
The boy I was engaged to is married now, and the father of a 9 day (yes, day) baby boy. His sister has 6 kids now and looks as young as she did the last time I saw her, 13 years ago.
It's all so strange to reconcile. It was so weird to know that the one person I was closest to in that family was the one whose voice was silent. She probably never gave a thought to the fact that her life would end in violence.
And it never should have.
I can only hope that justice is served and her killer gets what he has coming to him. NJ has the death penalty, I think. But we don't ever use it. So it's a meaningless sentence, if that is what the prosecutor seeks. He'll sit in a nice little cell on our dime for the rest of his life.
But he will have to answer to God.
And then justice will be served, as it should be.