Today I am in a surreal state of mind. I found out yesterday that one of my dear friends of the past was burying her daughter Megan. Megan would have been 20 this July. She'd had since birth some mild cerebral palsy and epilepsy--but you would have never known it. She had some paralysis on her right side so did everything one-handed--even tie her shoes. She was fiercely independent. She worked in a bakery, went hiking, canoeing, rode zip lines, loved her siblings, did chores around the house, went to school--all with one hand. The last time I spent time with her, I was wearing my Mary Kay beauty consultant hat and asked by her mother to teach her how to wear makeup. "It'll be easier for her to hear coming from you rather than me." her mom said. It was fun.
Megan was fun to be around. She was bright and cheerful. She never complained. I didn't know her well, but I liked being around her when I was. I only found out about her funeral about an hour and a half before it started. I just knew in my gut that I had to be there. As other's shared their stories about Megan, as her beautiful mother, my friend spoke about her daughter without breaking down, I cried. Even though my religious faith tells me she is in a better happier place without the constraints of her handicapped body, it was easy to see that she is leaving a hole behind.
Her dad told this amazing story at the end of the funeral. Her parents were having a hard time choosing a cemetary for her. After driving around all of the ones in the area, they decided that it should be a family decision. So the next day they pulled the other kids (5 of them) out of school and drove around again. When they got to a small, out of the way, kinda in the middle of nowhere, they unanimously got a strong feeling that this quiet cemetary was the right cemetary for Megan's final resting place. They made the appropriate phone calls, and waited for the caretakers of the cemetary to arrive. As they waited, they walked around looking for the right plot. Far away, down at the other end of the cemetary an old man jumped up, waved at them and called "Hal....Hal!" Since no one in their party was named "Hal," they shrugged it off and kept looking. After the man did this a second time, Megan's aunt said, "I think he's saying "Help." Megan's dad admitted that he was selfishly caught up in his own grief and worries to give it much thought. (I probably would have been too!). Her aunt went to investigate, and found that the old man was bleeding badly from a cut in his arm, and had been crawling around the cemetary for well over a day, trying to get help. They called 911, and got him the emergency care he needed. He was dehydrated, and slowly bleeding to death. If they hadn't been there at that time, he would have died. Megan's father felt that it was her influence from the other side that led them there--so that they could help him. Megan loved people and she loved helping.
I'm going to make her mother a card and mail it to her. I didn't have time to make one before the funeral. In it I will tell her mother again how glad I am that we were close once, and how I cherish her friendship. Then, as per her mother's wishes as to how we knew Megan, I will tell her mother that I thought Megan was beautiful and bright. I will tell her that I never saw her handicap.
I have a poem brewing, and when I finish it I will share. For now it's just:
The world is dimmer today.
the Light you brought to it has
followed you home.
Farewell Megan, even though I wasn't a big part of your life, you made an impression on mine, and I will miss you.