Thank you all so much for your compassionate messages about my friend Danielle's death. It really means a lot to me that you all care. Gotta love my blog friends!
So, yesterday evening at 5pm was Danielle's Memorial Service. I got there 30 minutes early, and there was already a line out the door. So many people showed up--friends, family, even strangers. I met up with some of my high school friends (and our drama teacher!) and we decided to sit together. It was nice to see them again, even under such terrible circumstances.
What I loved about Danielle's service was this--everyone was encouraged to wear bright colors, or Ravens football gear (Danielle was a fan), and it was meant to be a celebration of her vibrant life. There was a slideshow of pictures set to some of her favorite songs, and posters of photos all around the chapel. The chapel, which holds a few hundred people, was PACKED--some people even had to stand!
Her boyfriend of 6 years spoke, as did her mother, father, and a few other relatives and friends. It was incredibly emotional, and I cried--a lot. In fact, I almost didn't make it to the chapel. On my way there, I thought I was going to throw up. I have always had an aversion to funerals. But, Danielle really meant a lot to me, and I knew she would have gone to my funeral had I gone to heaven first.
What really made it all worth it was seeing Danielle's mother, Debbie. I hadn't seen Danielle in about a year, but we had known each other since we were 3 and in ballet class together. Our mothers were also friends. Still--I didn't expect her to recognize me at all, or to talk to me at such a large event with so many other family and friends there. However, I had just gotten out of the restroom and was standing in the back of the chapel admiring some beautiful photos of Danielle, when Debbie came up behind me and said my name. Then she gave me a huge hug and said "I am so glad you're here." We talked for a few minutes, and she said Danielle would have been so glad that I came. It was a really difficult moment, but also a really beautiful one. I am still having a really hard time dealing with this. She was 22 years old--the same age I am now--and it just seems so unfair that she had to leave this earth so soon. However, losing Danielle is making me realize how precious life really is. I can't put things off for "later", because you really never know how much time you have. Not that we should live our lives in constant fear of death. But, I am realizing that if there is something I want to do, I should just do it. Not later. NOW.
After the funeral, which lasted almost 2 hours, I headed home for what I thought would be a quiet night of watching movies on my couch with Boomer the cat. Then, a little before 8pm, the doorbell rang. I was a little freaked out, as I was home alone, and it was Sunday night. So, I open the door, and on the doorstep there was a dozen red roses and a card with my name on it. I looked around, and there appeared to be no one at my house--no cars, nothing. I wasn't sure if I should be flattered or seriously freaked out. But then, who pops out of the bushes?
MY BOYFRIEND!!! It was so sweet. He drove 2.5 hours to surprise me and to cheer me up. He had to work today, so he could only stay until this morning, but we had a really fun time. We made a drinking game out of battleship (you have to drink when one of your ships sinks), and then we had a dance party in the living room. I showed him my high school performance of "Bye Bye Birdie" on DVD, which made him laugh. And then my parents arrived home and hung out with us some more and then we all went to sleep.
This morning, B & I played more battleship (without the alcohol this time!), then lounged on the couch and talked. It was just what I needed. What a guy, let me tell ya!!! :-)
This week, please take the time to re-connect with someone you haven't spoken to in awhile but have been meaning to. It could be a friend from high school, a grandparent, or a coworker. Just give them a call/text/email/snail mail message just to say "Hi! How are you?". It will mean the world to that person, and it will make you feel pretty good too.
Have you ever gotten a surprise visit from someone you love?