One of the blessings of being a retired guy is that I can now attend funerals.
Today I attended the funeral of one of my high school teachers who later married one of my co-workers. Both Lynn and Jim seemed much younger than their calendar ages.
Jim approached life like a large puppy. Every experience was new and wonderful. He radiated enthusiasm and optimism. We shot skeet together off a small hill in northwest Eaton county. Jim was of German extract and enjoyed a good beer.
Had Lynn been a guy, I would have said that she experienced life "balls-out". She threw herself into every experience like a swashbuckling hero from the golden age of Hollywood. She fenced (as in swords), baked, traveled, spoke multiple foreign languages. She was elegant, gracious and refined. She supplemented her income by modeling. She was the Zorro of Science Teachers.
Lynn actually almost thought I was OK when she got to know me as an adult. It may have been out of respect for Jim. I was a stinker when I was a kid.
By my best figuring, Lynn was Jim's senior by 17 years. Their mutual zest for life (and Lynn's stunning good looks) made that a complete non-issue.
It took the cancer a while to beat her down. Death, to a Christian, is not the ultimate tragedy. We will all die. Dying while in a state of separation from God is the ultimate tragedy. Lynn had always been a Godly woman. She had plenty of time at the end to be ready.
Jim shook everybody's hand during the funeral Mass. The cantor had to go extra innings while singing. The cantor was a seasoned professional. He was attuned to the possibility and did not falter on a single note.
I talked briefly with Jim. He seemed to be in a very good space, considering.
Lynn's funeral is not a funeral I could have justified going to when I was a working stiff.
I am glad that I was able to go for Jim's sake. I expect a payback....a fresh-from-the-oven apple tart, extra cinnamon when I get to the Pearly Gates.
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