Good Friday concert
Friday April 02nd 2010, 10:43 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life

There was a choir concert at the church in Menlo Park tonight.  I was the only one here able to go, but our friend Jim was playing the organ and I wouldn’t miss for anything being there in memory of what his family went through a few years ago:  to cherish and celebrate with him by my simple presence the life of his son, remembering the joy in Jim‘s playing as he got the news, right there at the organ at a Good Friday concert, that Nicholas was being released from the hospital.

And to remember God’s Son most of all.

“Two shall be working in the field; one shall be taken, the other left.”  I think I get that obscure phrase better than I used to. Life simply is what it is.

I was two minutes late and the place was packed. Looking in the doorway, I saw one open seat only.  Taking it, I found myself sitting next to Alma. Alma!! We threw our arms around each other in silent exclamations of surprised delight.

We lived near each other and saw each other every Sunday when her first two and my younger two children were babies; her Nicole was a preschooler and Nathan a toddler when they moved away.

About ten years later, my friend Michelle, for whom I knitted the original Monterey Shawl, had her young daughter admitted to Children’s Hospital, and I went to visit her with a toy to cheer her up.

Only, the parents had forgotten to add the detail that when they’d moved here, they’d kept their old insurance, meaning she was in Oakland Children’s Hospital over an hour away, not at the Lucile Packard one at Stanford right nearby. Oops.  She wasn’t there.

Well, that didn’t work!  I was walking back down the sidewalk towards my car, wondering why why why–when Alma and I saw each other. After all those years.



Only–I knew if I were seeing her there, of all places…

Her son Nathan had had a childhood cancer treated, one that no child had ever survived that rare type of tumor if it were larger than so many centimeters.

His had been the size of a watermelon.

And now it was back and so was he and there we both were.  We grieved together, and I absolutely knew that that was why Michelle and her husband hadn’t thought to mention which hospital; their daughter recovered quickly from a temporary thing, and I needed to be in that spot on that day for Alma to receive that comfort.

Nathan had wanted to be a fireman when he grew up.  A firehouse near where they lived took him into their hearts as he fought the good fight, so much so that when he passed, they came with their big red trucks to the funeral in his honor and to comfort his family.

And of course I came too.  I remembered Nicole and Nathan, the big sister holding carefully onto her little brother’s hand, the two of them inseparable, always; what would she do without him?  Alma told me they’d stayed close like that as they’d gotten bigger, too.

That was all, again, about a dozen years ago.  And there she was tonight.  I’d come to celebrate that Jim’s son had survived his fall from the ski lift over that Spring Break–and found myself there beside a woman who, as the music went on, was wiping tears, particularly, it seemed to me afterwards, during Mary’s Song.

And I knew. Oh, honey, I knew.  You don’t get over the loss of a child; you only get through it.

I can only hope that knowing that someone else was there who knew and who somehow ended up, again, right there, helped.

5 Comments so far
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We never know when someone out of our past will re-enter our lives, and perhaps we never even know why. But assuredly there is a purpose there.

Bit of fun —

We are responsible for what we do, unless we are celebrities.

I’ve learned that artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

There is a fine line between genius and insanity.

Comment by Don Meyer 04.03.10 @ 10:15 am

No coincidences… I’m glad you were there to sit with her.

Comment by Channon 04.03.10 @ 11:38 am

I have no doubt that your being there did indeed help, Alison.

Comment by RobinM 04.04.10 @ 7:34 am

to you both.

Comment by Diana Troldahl 04.04.10 @ 9:27 am

Some folks call it “serendipity.” I call it God. He always knows the needs of our hearts.

Comment by Shirley 04.11.10 @ 7:00 pm

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