Last Saturday, my husband and I attended an emotional, and at-once stately and personal, Celebration of Life service. Thank goodness the service was confined to close friends and family, with all who desired to do so, given a microphone moment to share remembrances of the great man.
Here’s a blogged version of one man’s ‘TED Talk’ that will give you the flavor of how and why this man was beloved. The writer is an executive with Young Life, an organization devoted to helping impoverished or troubled teens, to which TED devoted nearly fifty years of his high-impact life.
My husband and I spoke similar words of praise… TED was not only my husband’s boss for thirty years, he was Larry’s mentor and surrogate dad, while I was the always-loyal wife of the traveling salesman.
Needless to say, the simple service and its midday repast were cheerful and uplifting, yet deeply sad. When we finally pulled ourselves away, emotionally spent, we headed to our motel room in a small town about fifty miles south.
When we arrived at around 4:00, we were relieved to find a parking spot near the door. We’d both sat and stood overlong and needed to limit our steps.
We weren’t pleased to have been placed on in a second floor room, sandwiched between the ground floor and the third, but were told that there were few rooms at the inn. News of an elevator soothed our mood, but the check-in clerk was already defensive, so I knew I needed to dial back my attitude to defuse the mild ruckus I’d caused.
“I’m sorry if I came on strong. We’ve just come from a Celebration of Life ceremony that was very emotional. The man died of COVID last December and, sadly, the service was greatly delayed. Our nerves are frayed and I need a nap.”
The woman softened and nearly wept, but she couldn’t make eye contact. “I’ve spent the morning with my brother who has COVID. He’s probably not gonna make it.”
COVID has made us all edgy. It’s good to emote human-to-human and to have compassion… making America kind again.