Monday, June 2, 2014

working on a Saturday

This weekend was one of the mostly unremarkable kind that hardly warrants a typical recap: pizza and wine at a favorite place on Friday night, work for me Saturday (Andrew went to eat BBQ with a friend - who's surprised? Though the mac and cheese he brought me back was better than I remembered. Amazing!), started watching Orange is the New Black, and a Sunday filled with chores and capped off with a delicious dinner (seriously, if you didn't see that goodness on Instagram then you should follow for that alone). So I could just end the blog post here, but in my typical fashion, if I'm going to start a post, then it has to say something.

Rewind to the working on Saturday part. There are two Saturdays a year where I know I'll have to work (Graduation) and the rest of the time, my weekends are mine. But this Saturday was special. I work for a non-profit law school governed by a Board of Directors, and a man who graduated from my school and served on our Board passed away recently. So, very non-conventionally, the school hosted his Celebration of Life. He survived cancer once, and when it came back, he knew he might not be so lucky, so he laid rules for his post-mortem celebration. No sadness or melancholy - a celebration was in order. When the time came, his family asked if it could be held at the school, so it became "my" event - to host a celebration for a man whom I had never met on a Saturday, when I would rather be doing a million other things.

Just being honest. I've never pretended to be a saint.

I could bore you with how planning something like this is hard - you don't send invitations, so you don't get RSVPs and you don't know if you're feeding 20 or 200 - but I won't. Instead I will tell you how it all came together. How there were tons of smiling photos of the deceased with his family and colleagues on a loop. How his love of Elvis was evident from check-in to dessert as a playful nod to something so important to him. How he gave a speech in 2007 that was recorded and played at the conclusion of the service - his words, telling his wife, children, secretary, and colleagues how they helped him to become the person he was. I hope they all found comfort in hearing from him one last time as they celebrated his life. It was a good reminder to me - pose for the millionth picture that my dad wants to take, take a video every so often, and it can be a good thing to document and record. One day, that might be someone's comfort.

The family was completely lovely and fantastically grateful for what the school had done. The deceased's daughter, only a few years younger than me, wore a fuchsia dress - a color of happiness, not mourning. She told me about how she received a promotion shortly after her father passed away and gave all the credit to him. The family talked and laughed, his grandchildren ran races through the room, and they took their own photos with friends and family they hadn't seen in a while.  They celebrated the life of someone they all seemed to love so wholly. They had so much grace and gratitude, even on a dark day. I find it difficult to show grace and be grateful, even on the best days. What a lesson in how to be.

Working on a Saturday. Not my favorite thing to do, but the lessons in the end made it not so bad.



Linking up for the School of Life - 
The School of Life

18 comments:

  1. what a fantastic post. i've also been trying to realize that while i want to be present in whatever i'm doing with whomever i'm doing it with, i also try and take a few pictures here and there for a future keepsake because i know that one day i, or someone in my family, will look back at those pictures with fondness and remember those great times.

    -kathy
    Vodka and Soda

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  2. What a beautiful celebration and how lucky you were- even on a Saturday- to provide so much comfort to a grieving family remembering their loved one through planning this event.

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  3. I meannnn... pizza is definitely worthy of a re-cap! :D ;)

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  4. I started watching Orange is the New Black this weekend too! I'm obsessed!

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  5. I bet that was a super hard event to plan, you are a rock star for pulling it off. I love it when I'm miserable about having to do something that ends in a good lesson instead of just more misery. :)

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  6. That sounds like a great way to end a big life.

    It is nerve wracking to plan an event that could have a huge range in attendees and no RSVPs. Kudos to you for pulling it off.

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  7. someone passing away is always sad, but love that he wanted his family to celebrate his life instead of mourn him.

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  8. What a great event! I'm glad it all came together & people were able to celebrate his life.

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  9. I wouldn't even know where to begin on planning an event that I don't know the people or how many were coming....I mean my OCD is just giving me heart palpitations right now! So go you for pulling that off! And what a lovely reminder to celebrate the life of a loved one that we loose instead of just mourning. To live in that moment and cherish the memories!

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  10. I imagine it must have been really hard to plan but how amazing to get to help the family to remember him.

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  11. Oh wow. What a sweet story, Sadly, this weekend Jason's granny passed away and Jason told me when his time comes he doesn't want a formal funeral like granny's, and I said I would throw a party where we'd serve his favorite drinks and tell our fave Jason stories, instead. Also, OITNB is my fave! I can't wait for it to come back, Friday

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  12. this is how i want my life to be celebrated! with happiness not mourning.

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  13. Wow! I bet that event was a hard one to host!!!! I'm always emotional about those types of things whether I know the person or not. It sounds like it went well and you took away from it lessons and that is worth a Saturday in my opinion:)))

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  14. Wow Lauren...that sounds like quite the rewarding and challenging event. I would not have been happy to have to work a Saturday either :) Sunday dinner looks SO good, that was nice treat after having to work on Saturday. Thanks for linking up!

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  15. Working on the weekends is never fun but I'm glad this time it wasn't as bad as expected.

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  16. What a great lesson to learn: documenting our lives in the form of pictures and videos is not just for us, but for our friends and family to remember us by. It sounds like a rewarding event that went very well!
    Thank you so much for linking up!

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  17. I'm glad it all came together! Although working on a Saturday is always tough (and tougher in this situation because of a deceased man you didn't know), it's always wonderful to put things into perspective -- to realize you should take all the photos your dad wants and to make a video sometime.

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  18. Aw wow, Lauren. This is an awesome lesson. So sorry I'm just getting around to seeing it. Thanks so much for linking up.

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