A Special Celebration
I took my time choosing just the right outfit. It had to be “to the nines” and red or purple. I pulled out my purple velvet floor length dress, picked through my jewelry and found three long red-stoned necklaces and two ruby red bracelets. I added to this the matching earrings. Topped it all off with a red feather boa and ended the whole flashy display with a beautiful red hat. I looked like a party ready to happen.
Several of us took special time this morning to get similarly dressed. We are Red Hats, in particular, we are the Scarlett Snickerdoodles of the Red Hat Society. We do things together once a month – fun things. We go to antique stores and garage sales, we go to teas and plays, we travel to other towns and experience their idea of teas, antique stores, garage sales, and plays. That’s what Red Hats do – we play. Today is a special day, though, and I can’t describe it as playing. One of our members made a special request for us to deck all up in our red and purple splendor. Today is her memorial service.
We were gathering together today to celebrate her. A week ago she passed quietly away from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). Her passing was so unlike her. No dancing. No skipping. No throwing back her head and laughing out loud.
Another member was grateful and thankful – boisterous even – that our friend was finally able to be free of the devastating effects of ALS, a disease with absolutely no cure and only certain death. I have had a hard time dealing with this – with her loss – and finding joy in her death.
The pastor related that at her graveside all her grandchildren happened to spy a deer leaping through the green grass near where she was laid. It was a sign! She was the spirit of that deer, bounding free of ALS, totally free to dance among the spirits.
So we gathered together and sat with her family and her friends and celebrated her life. ALS stole her from us, ALS stole her legs, her voice, her speech, her tap dance, her life. But as we sat together, leaning towards each other, touching each other – we started to laugh. We started to bring up all her qualities and she had no bad qualities – she was like each one of us in so many ways. She was opinionated, ornery, stubborn, funny, witty, danced through her day, sang at the top of her lungs in the shower, made Snow Angels in the snow, hugged babies, and laughed. And we all are just like her in all her ways. It’s trite to say she’s gone but not forgotten. But when I look at any other Scarlett Snickerdoodle and the flamboyant red hat, purple top, feathers, and flowers – I instantly see her. She is truly in my heart. And I could honestly say that I feel like dancing.
This is for you, dear Lois Watts