So tonight our friends Chris and Marsha met us for dinner at the North Park Lounge. It’s been quite a whirlwind of a trip home for them — dealing with the sad news that Chris’ mother, Donna had passed away late last week at age 82. I received the news on Friday morning and felt truly sad, as I had remembered Chris’ mom as a very kind woman.
That morning here in Cranberry was a gorgeous day. It was two days since the snowstorm that gave us another 7-8” of snow. And the sun was gleaming against the bluest sky you can imagine. Crisp, cold, yet beautiful. I was driving to work and came up over a crest and saw the most breathtaking snow scene across a farmer’s field. It was truly peaceful, and I thought of Chris’ mother at that moment. What a glorious day it was to welcome Chris and Marsha home during this time — I said a quick prayer for their safe journey from Cary, NC to Darlington, PA. And I pondered for a minute, as it was one of those magic moments when you realize that everything was as it was supposed to be.
I called Greg on Friday night. I decided that I didn’t want to call Chris, as he probably had a lot of things coming at him at once. I wasn’t even sure when he would be getting in. Greg and Chris had been friends for almost 30 years — and had been best buds for a very long time. They had met working at McDonalds, which is how I became friends with the both of them. And when we all went our separate ways, Greg and Chris remained very close. Greg and I talked for a long time on Friday night. I think it’s these kind of events that bring everyone together — maybe it’s just to hear each other’s voice, or maybe it’s to make sure everyone’s okay — or maybe it’s kind of all of that. Not that we needed a reason to talk — we certainly touched base every so often — always with the best intentions that we would get together soon.
We both commented on how strong Chris’ mom was through all her trials — the loss of her husband and then her daughter, before losing her own long battle with cancer. All her pain was gone now, and she was in a better place — at peace, reunited with her husband and daughter. While there’s something very comforting in that, it still must be very difficult to lose your mother. And we knew this would be a tough weekend for Chris and Marsha.
So Wednesday I started getting the strep throat that everyone else in my office was getting. Even though I had started taking antibiotics, Saturday I was pretty sick and didn’t even go to church with Tom. Sunday was the memorial service at her church in Darlington, PA, and I unfortunately couldn’t go. I was sneezing and coughing every few minutes and would have made everyone uncomfortable around me in church. It made me very sad and at 4 pm, I prayed for a nice service in her memory.
So that brings to me today! Chris and Marsha met us for dinner — it was a nice break for them to get out of the house and away from the executor duties that Chris had been doing for the past two days, along with Marsha. And for Tom and me, well I am finally feeling better and really wanted to spent a little time with them. I’m just sitting here thinking about what a wonderful evening we had. What’s the best thing about Chris and Marsha? They’re like comfort food, you know? It’s like you’ve been friends for a lifetime and it’s so easy to be with them. You know, the kind of friends where you have everything in common — you laugh at the same things — you enjoy the same everything. And, it’s like you see them and realize they’re both okay, and they’re going to be okay.
Greg joined us after work a couple hours later. It was good to see him too, and we all sat around talking about some of the best times from a long time ago. And then we talked about the big anniversary tomorrow — Chris and Marsha’s 20th wedding anniversary — an amazing 20 years!!! Where did the time go? We joked with our waiter that they wanted to spin the birthday wheel for their anniversary. We told him that they were visiting us from North Carolina, and while we wished we had a birthday, we had an anniversary instead! The manager gave them a spin. And wouldn’t you know, as luck would have it — they landed on the skinniest section of the wheel — a chance to win the grand prize of a Florida vacation. Marsha was jumping up and down and everyone was cheering — you would have thought they hit it big in the lottery! The spin off is in April, and Tom, Greg and I will be going back to spin for them with 52 other people.
I know there’s a still a long road ahead for Chris, as he has the responsibility to wrap up her estate. I think the process part of all of that is actually the easier part. Wrapping up someone’s entire life and passing it to a new generation has to be difficult — maybe it’s the memories, or maybe it’s the moments you’ll wish were still to come — or maybe it’s kind of all of that. God bless you both, Chris and Marsha during this time, and always.
Always B E L I E V E.