It was the overwhelming smell of flowers that hit me as I walked into the building.
It’s always that way.
I breathed it in as I glanced around the packed parlor of the funeral home. The line when I arrived had been so long that it took quite a while to make it inside the door. It was the line that first caught my attention. Not the length, I had expected that; it was the large amount of young people peppering the line that reminded me of the enormity of this loss.
We are members of a large educational community; but in reality we are a small group. We know each other from schools in which we work, from committees, from the pool, the grocery store, little league, soccer, swimming, field hockey, PTA, PTO, football games and wrestling matches.
We are a family.
But now the members of this very large family are standing in line to pay our respects to a small family. A family that is trying to figure out how a vibrant, loving, healthy, active young teacher and mother could be taken from this life so soon.
And that is an answer they will never receive.
As I inch closer to the family, I notice their incredible strength. Her husband and son hug each friend, and even though they’ve been experiencing something that will forever alter the course of their lives, they stand tall and strong, comforting the people who have in fact come to comfort them.
I think, from my own experiences, that they might not remember all of the dozens and dozens of bouquets, the hundreds and hundreds of people, the number of hugs they passed out, or the words we all struggled to find.
But I do think they’ll remember this.
This daughter, sister, wife and mother is greatly loved and admired by everyone in this community. She smiled every day, loved every child, laughed at herself and helped others do the same. She impacted her students, her co-workers, loving friends, and people too numerous to mention. Her joie do vivre will continue to live on through all of them.
And while that might not bring comfort today, tonight or tomorrow; sometime soon, it will. It will be something they will always remember.
That is an incredible legacy that we would all be grateful for.