The weekend

September 27, 2009 21:56 – 21:56

This weekend has not been easy. It’s been the source of comfort as well as renewed grief and pain. I lost count of how many times I cried last night and today.

Yesterday afternoon, we met up with Katie Uva, Mark, and Julia at Arlington Street Church in Boston so that the four of us could practice singing Heart of It All, and invent some harmonies. With some suggestions from Karen (our audience) and the four musicians, it all came together quite well—with three guitars and four voices, all joined together to celebrate our love for Katie, it’s hard to go wrong.

After an hour or so of rehearsal, Karen and I gave Katie Uva and her guitar a lift to BU’s library, then we did a drive-by of a couple of historic sites, and finally headed back to the ASC area. We met Liz and her family at Piattini’s for dinner, which was a good get-together, and a nice chance to be together again. We shared good food, wine, and conversation. It felt almost normal. Almost.

After dinner, we walked back to ASC, where I was delighted to find that my car was still where I left it—and un-ticketed! At 7:30, there was a circle worship at ASC, where some 30 or 40 of us gathered to share memories of Katie. It was intimate and special—and a number of us shared special memories of Katie, and how important and deeply loved she is. We left at about 9:30, filled with tears, but also touched by the love.

This morning, we got to ASC a little before 11 for the morning service. Kim talked about wabi sabi—which I take to mean accepting and taking joy in touches of disorder in a [perhaps] over-ordered world. It’s like the little bit of chaos you sometime deliberately introduce into overly orchestrated music in order to make it more authentic and genuine.

I thought I was going to survive the service without tears, but Kim’s opening words, and Mark’s closing song (Shower the People) ensured that it would not be a dry hour for me.

After the service, Karen & I went to Au Bon Pain for lunch, having taken Kim’s advice to get away from the crowd for a little while. We headed back to ASC for the memorial service at 1:30. It was beautiful and touching—Spirit of Life, Gather the Spirit, What Wondrous Love, How Could Anyone, and remembrances shared by Heather and Allison had many of us in tears.

I think the only time I didn’t cry was when we sang Heart of It All. I don’t know how we did it. I suspect that Katie was there, sending us her love and strength to get through it. Most miraculous was the fact that of the four or five times we sang the song together yesterday, today was the only time we did everything exactly right. I’m told that our voices and guitars blended very nicely. At one point, I noticed a woman tearfully collapse against a friend she was with, and I thought “This is it. Now I’m going to lose it.” But I suddenly developed a keen interest in the grain pattern in the wood railing in front of me (translation: I forced myself to focus on something that wouldn’t make me break down), and was able to keep it together.

After the service, the GA delegates hosted a reception in the adjoining chapel. There was a beautiful cake and quite a bit of amazingly delicious-looking food. I proteined it, courtesy of some yummy meatballs, cheese, and shrimp. I would have loved to have sampled some of the beautiful cake—it looked amazing. But, I knew it would wreak havoc with my blood sugar, so I behaved.

At the reception, we spoke with many of Katie’s friends who had come to help celebrate Katie’s life. She was blessed with so many wonderful friends, and vice versa. I think the things that we all miss most are her beautiful smile that could light up the darkest room, and her warm and endless hugs that told you were loved. In honor of Katie, we did our best to live up to the spirit of her hugs.

I also got to meet Mark and Ashlee’s daughter, Shiloh. She’s a beautiful new soul—born just a week or so before Katie died. Katie would have loved her. And, although I said “new soul,” I’m not so sure about that. I think I saw signs of ageless wisdom in her beautiful and intense eyes. I have a feeling that she’s going to make a mark on the world.

After the reception, we were invited to Julia’s parents’ house in Lexington—just a few blocks from where Karen & I lived in 1977-1978. Maggie and Jim have a beautiful home, and we spent several hours there talking about everything from SDI to cantaloupe. I found it interesting how the 20 or so of us who were there had self-segregated by age. Naturally, I settled down with Katie’s YA friends most of the time. They were gracious enough not to shun the oldster, but I’m really still a kid at heart, and maybe they know that. I simply have had a much longer and more extended childhood.

When I went to the dining room to join the parental crowd, they were engaged in heady conversations about health care, the economy, missile defense, and other light fare. After about 45 minutes, someone mentioned punk rock, so I said “Ding!” and let them know that the two disparate groups had finally intersected—that the YA group had also mentioned punk rock music.

Other than that, however—and the context was very different—the conversations were worlds apart. And, as we all know, context is everything—except when timing is everything.

So… this weekend has been a mixture of sorrow, joy, and love. Parts were difficult, but I think necessary to the slow healing process that’s in store. We’ve made many new friends, and I hope that we’re able to stay in contact with them as the years unfold. Katie can’t do it, so it’s up to us to gather the spirit, harvest the power, and let our separate lights kindle one flame.

Tomorrow, we’re heading up to Maine. Our first night there will be in Biddeford, where we plan to revisit the world’s greatest pizza (Alex’s), although some have argued that there’s a place in Bar Harbor that’s better. After Biddeford, we’ve rented a house for the next three nights, up in Belfast, where we plan to soak up the local ambiance and lobster. Hopefully, the rain will move out of New England so we can enjoy some beautiful autumn weather and color.

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