he sat there in the corner with his cane, his lip quivering in attempt to hold back the tears. "i miss her so much", he said over and over as he stared intently at the slideshow that was playing in the background.
only, none of us knew who this man was.
it turns out that he was a patient at the doctor's office that was attached to the coffee shop that my mom spent her mornings in. she was a permanent fixture there, really; she sat at the same stool and drank her usual coffee with the same people day afer day, and took it upon herself to help any incoming patient find their way to the appropriate doctor. "doctor so and so is just upstairs to the right", she'd say. everyone knew her, and everyone loved her.
so you can understand why it wasn't a shock when i walked into a full house yesterday. people flooded the dining room, living room, kitchen and hallways. stories could be heard from every corner, and laughter from every room. at least, my laughter. [insert wink emoticon here].
my aunts and uncles were there, along with my cousins, second cousins and even third. some of our old neighbours showed up, her friends from the coffee shop i just mentioned [the 'saggy bottom café' as she called it], people who knew her and my dad from way back in the day when my dad apparently roller skated [you learn something new every day], her coworkers, my sister's coworkers, our youth pastors and friends, my roommate and her sister-in-law, and my grade four teacher, who didn't just come to remind me how good my spelling was back then, but to let me know how much he enjoyed talking to my mom, who lived on his street, while he was out gardening. she was always one to stop and smell the roses, after all.
i sit here even a day later overwhelmed by everyone's love and support. thanks a million to all of those who came, to those who wanted to but couldn't, and to that unnamed elderly man in the corner, who, not only donated a crisp $20 bill to the cancer society in my mom's name yesterday, but proved to be the perfect reminder that my mom's sphere of influence exceeded far beyond those she held close.
miss you, mom. thanks for setting such a great example of how we all should live our lives: simply, and surrounded by love. xo