Monday, October 10, 2005

You saw her WHERE? Doing WHAT? Imagine.

Thank you all so very much for all your kind responses to our loss of Linda.

We think we know someone well, but really, we only know a person in the context of our own relationship to him/her.

All the aspects of Linda that I described were just my own perception of her, within the context of family. At the funeral home yesterday, I realized anew that each person there had his/her own relationship with her, defined by a different context. Each perspective is absolutely true. It's just not ALL.

Her grown children and her grandchildren knew her as Mother and Grandma. Her siblings knew her as their sister. Her mother knew her as a daughter. Her neighbors knew her as a generous next-door-or-down-the-road lady who loved to entertain and share her beautiful flowers. Her co-workers knew her as a hard-working woman who did better than her best at every challenge. The community at large knew her as a volunteer, fund-raiser, and active participant in almost every charitable function imaginable. She hobnobbed with politicians and local celebrities. She ate a large percentage of her meals at banquets in her honor. The walls were covered with newspaper articles, ribbons, and all kinds of awards. No one person in that room could possibly have known all there was to Linda, yet we all considered that we knew her well.

The picture show at the mortuary showed Linda in all these different aspects. Listening to the onlookers' comments taught me once again that we never know anybody completely. We only know them in the context of our own relationship with them. There is always more to everyone than meets our own little eye.

When we see someone, anyone, we don't know how they showed kindness to an elderly customer, or opened the door for a wheel-chair-bound co-worker, or ran after a stranger in the street to give them their forgotten package or change, or donated all their lunch money for a month to charity, or cheated someone out of a bonus, or showed cruelty to an innocent victim. We don't know who goes home to violence, a hot supper, NO supper, a cardboard box, a mansion, kind words, screams and pleas, yet another job as caregiver, or all-out war with someone they once loved. People we see every day have "other" lives, and so do we.

It's not that we are all secretive, either. It's just that in one environment, we are one way, and in another, we are another. And so on, and so on, in every environment that we frequent.

As small children, we are blown-away-astonished to see our teacher in the grocery store. That she would be buying toilet paper is not within our limited understanding, and if she has ice cream in her cart it must surely be for the cafeteria at school because SHE'S not going to eat it. Why are there diapers in her cart? Why is she wearing SHORTS and a T-SHIRT with METALLICA on it? Are those TAMPONS in her cart? An iPod in her pocket? It's too much for our sensitive uninitiated little minds to comprehend.

Is that the minister playing golf? Not possible. Old Mr. Smith at the bar? No way. Mr. and Mrs. Jones out there on the dance floor? Not bloody likely. Is the Reynolds boy whose name is on the police log today the same boy who used to deliver our paper every night after school? I just can't believe he'd DO that. He's having an affair? I had no idea. Who woulda thought? He seemed so nice. She seemed so nice. I thought they were happy. I thought he was happy. I thought she was happy. I think I am happy. . . .

Why did that man smile and wave? Who is it? Our DENTIST? I didn't recognize him out of his office! The man at the post office who speaks to us every day? We might have walked right past him if we saw him at the mall.

You can't tell about people from their outsides, as Marilla Cuthbert told Anne.

And just like the old joke says, Inside every fat old woman is a slender young thing screaming "Let me out of this nightmare!!!!!!!!!!"

If you find out how to do that, please let me know, ok?

Update, which I've been doing lately because I think of things after I think I'm finished but I'm not. . . . .

Zinnia is right: that is one hilariously ironic name for a minister. Seriously. Click and look at that pastor's name. Oh, Linda, you must have all of Heaven in stitches!
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 4:20 PM | |


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