celebration of life

Celebration of life.    Over the last 24 hours, that phrase took on a mixed meaning—with some common themes:  60 years.   Old friends and new, coming together.  Lots of connecting, lots of hugging, lots of stories.   Homemade desserts.

My marathon birthday reached a crescendo last night at my friend Jane’s house.     I was surrounded by friends; all women.  It epitomized how my life in Carmel has come full circle from my lonely beginnings.   If love is expressed by food, I felt very, very loved—all the food homemade by Jane.  She  always outdoes Martha Stewart—but this time,  even out-did herself (wait till you see pictures).   All in all, a wonderful celebration of life.

The party was hastily organized (completely due to my procrastination).  True to form, one of the first people to R.S.V.P. about a week ago was the always  responsible Carol.   

I got home from the party late last night.  15 hours later,  I was at another celebration of life, also 60 years:  Carol’s lifeIMG_7021

Some of her friends also expressed their love through food–making cupcakes, Carol’s favorite (of course mine were chocolate).  We joined hundreds of people for her memorial today at the same school where I went in and asked Carol to be my friend.   Carol, who never sought the spotlight, was honored as she so deserved, in tributes as beautiful as her soul—from her husband and daughters to our Congressman,  Rep.Sam Farr.     

As I’ve soared and plunged from emotional highs to lows,  at this moment, I feel every single one of my 60 years—plus Carol’s 60.   And as I write that, drained and exhausted, I wonder about the meaning of the last 24 hours.   How do you draw a message from the injustice and the inequity of our 60 years’ life celebrations?  

Maybe the answer is something I took home from Carol’s memorial (in addition to one of the cupcakes).   I took home  the message that we can celebrate Carol’s life— by bringing into our own lives some of who she was.  And I can surely use Carol’s generosity, her goodness, her grace— not to mention some of  her organizational skills.

So possibly the message is that simple: celebrate life.   No matter what the number is— celebrate every year you get, every day you get—because that’s life.  And that’s all we get.

Comments

  1. Marla Wentner says:

    And don’t forget that sometimes we get cupcakes, too!

  2. I wish I’d thought of that—would have been the perfect last line to this post!!

  3. Mark Geduldig-Yatrofsky says:

    My favorite pick-me-up movie about death and dying is “The Big Chill.” I watch it at least once a year and always find some new insight. When my brother Marty died in July of “natural unnatural causes,” as my sister so pithily phrased it, I took inspiration from it for the memorial service I put together for him. Although the circumstances of your friend Carol’s death are quite different from those of the absent centerpiece of “The Big Chill,” you might find it of use in the healing process (or not).

    Best regards, Mark

  4. Carol exemplified a beautiful person, she radiated the finest qualities of a woman. She was a class act inside and out. I’m just so sorry she didn’t get to be here a little longer to enjoy her darling little Hazel…thank you for sharing your thoughts, compassion/wisdom and friendship of Carol Hatton with all of us.

  5. Thanks, Mark, will be fun to watch the Big Chill again–even if I get nothing out of it other than fun.
    And Kim I think anyone who knew Carol would agree with your words: they capture exactly who Carol was.

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