Last evening I went to a local funeral home for the calling hours of my Uncle Al. He wasn’t my uncle at all, but a nephew of my father’s which made him a first cousin to me. I guess because he was 30 years older than me I always called him uncle. Not that you needed to know any of that, but still.
It was a normal evening at a wake…offering condolences, trying to recognize faces and stopping to chat here and there. I came across a woman and I was positive I knew who she was. Using my often-faulty memory, I said hello to her and called her Ida. She told me that Ida was her sister who has been dead for 18 years; she was Sylvia. After my profuse apologies, she told me she was going on 89 years old; the offering of her age so easily at the beginning of our conversation was quite endearing to me (since I’ve never been a fan of the secrecy-of-age conspiracies). Sylvia wore a gorgeous black and white chiffon top with linen pants and a modernized string of pearls, stood tall and straight and spoke with my sisters and me for a bit. When we asked her where she was living, she paused and said, “I know where, just not at this moment.” With her index finger pointed, she asked us to give her a minute. We watched as she walked over to a relative of hers, whisper a bit and return to us. She was smiling as she told us the name of her street and said, “I’m sorry about that. Sometimes I have a senior moment.” And she laughed! A soft, genuine, “I’m-not-gone-yet” laugh that gave me a great big dose of hope.
Thank you, Sylvia. Wherever you are.