This post was written on November 6, 2019. On November 1, the world lost a wonderful person. This woman was the Executive Director for The North Coast Men’s Chorus for many years, recently retiring to battle cancer. She was an incredibly giving person, dedicated to helping others. Sadly, the cancer won. Her wake was on a Tuesday evening and the funeral the following Wednesday. I was not able to make the funeral, but did stop by the wake.
I live in a southeast suburb of Cleveland and work in a southwest suburb. I generally work Tuesdays and when I work, it is all day, into the evening. The wake was held near my job. I was on my way home, so I was able to stop and pay my respects. Now understand Kandi is a volunteer for the chorus. She is not a truck driver, I am. And when I am working, I am generally dressed in a hoodie, jeans and a hat with a few day growth. This is the person who walked into the wake. The chorus folks had never met this person.
The calling hours were long, so people had come and gone throughout the day. When I arrived there were only a handful of people I knew (who really didn’t know me). I walked up to each of them and smiled and I could see them immediately calculate who I was and break into broad smiles. Now this is what struck me most. I hugged each one of them. They held me. Not a hug, I was held, for a good period of time. It was the type of gesture that conveys so much with no words whatsoever. This happened three separate times, the same type of reaction from each of them.
I was only there a brief amount of time. I was glad I stopped and even more happy that maybe, just maybe, I make a very small difference in the lives of those I meet along the way. They were clearly happy that I (me, the real me) stopped by. So was I.