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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

GONE

Last weekend when we were in Gualala I checked Facebook and saw that an old coworker/friend, named Kathy, had written a farwell note on another friend's wall. It said something like "Goodbye Bonnie. You will be missed, friend." A million thoughts went through my head--did Bonnie move away? Did she die?!

My heart sank and I clicked through to Bonnie's Facebook page to see if there was other information to figure out what was going on. Bonnie has lived in the Oakland-Orinda area her whole life and I met her through our work at the Presbyterian church nursery where I worked Sundays in college. For the last 18 years Bonnie was in that nursery rocking and playing with babies during church services. There were a handful of us "gals" who worked or volunteered there and we loved spending our Sunday mornings together, caring for babies and chatting about everything under the sun. All of those ladies (ranging in age from our 20s to mid-50s) became near and dear to me. Bonnie and Kathy especially taught me a lot about what it means to be a good mother and they emanated good Christian values in every single thing they did. Oh how I miss those days!

Anyway, when I got to Bonnie's page only one other person had posted anything: and it said "RIP Bonnie." I was stunned, angry, confused, and sad. How could Bonnie be GONE? She has so many friends, a loving husband, and three amazing daughters who are just setting out on their own. I couldn't believe it. So I sent Kathy a message to ask for confirmation. I was scared to get her response back, but I did a few hours later.

Her funeral was yesterday so Eddie and I went to Moraga. My mom, brother, and Jennifer were nice to come along to entertain Eddie while I was in the service. Bonnie's middle daughter gave part of the eulogy, which was heartfelt and funny. After sharing some funny stories about her mom, Hilary said that she keeps thinking about how her mom is "gone." But that she realized a few days ago that she could change the way she thinks about the word "gone." She realized it could be an acronym rather than just a word. GONE: God Offers New Experiences. Everyone was nodding in agreement as she explained that her mom is now in heaven, partaking in all the new, eternal life experiences God has in store for her. Extending that, I think that Bonnie's passing (anyone's really) allows the rest of us to have new experiences, too. Especially when someone dies who has always been in your life, like a parent. You've never known life without them, and for the first time you are faced with navigating the world without them. So all those experiences are new for you, too. GONE made me feel better...even if I'm still not sure of what I believe awaits me after I die.

I brought Eddie into the reception afterward so all the other ladies could meet him. He was a really good boy, making friends with everyone, drinking lots of lemonade and eating cookies. It was surprisingly hot outside--about 91F! Although the circumstances sucked, it was nice to see everyone. I'm kicking myself for never making the time to come see all of them earlier. We decided that we should get together regularly but find a place halfway between Davis and Moraga. We WILL make it happen.

Afterward, my mom treated us Bower-Levie-Whitney's to lunch at one of my favorite Lamorinda eateries, Pizza Antica. It is usually super loud inside but because we were there at an off hour (about 3:45pm) it was super quiet...which did not bode well for me and Eddie. He was being squirmy and loud until our food came. Everyone else thought he was being relatively good, but I wish he'd just SIT STILL. Oh well, there's a reason we never go out to eat anymore. Once his spaghetti came he was a happy kid, slurping up those noodles and making a huge mess.

Then we decided to get ice cream at Loard's. Rather than drive, Edward suggested we take BART one stop down the line to go to Orinda. Eddie was STOKED. He hasn't been on BART since he was only a couple of months old.

Every time a train zipped by out the window he'd have to look long and hard for more to come. Sunshine in his face did not deter him from enjoying the choo choo ride!It was a bit of a walk from the Orinda station to the ice cream shop and I didn't bring the stroller. Eddie rode on my shoulders, which worked to entertain him (higher vantage point) and allowed me to control exactly how fast we walked and keep him safely away from fast cars. I must have looked ridiculous wearing a kid on my shoulders, dress shoes, and a black dress. We enjoyed our frozen treat in the air conditioned shop, then took Eddie to play at the newly renovated fountain at theater square. With him distracted I was able to use Edward's phone to call Verizon to complain about my constantly rebooting phone (a replacement phone is on the way!). We had to wait forever for the return train back to Lafayette and I was worried that Eddie would crash in the van on our hour drive back home, making it difficult to get him to cooperate for a much needed pre-bed bath. But he stayed awake the whole time, chatting with me!

Once he was in bed, I wasn't far behind. I have laundry to fold, dishes to wash, and clutter to put away...but I was too exhausted emotionally and physically to do any of it. Perhaps tonight!

2 comments:

Team Roy said...

I'm sorry to hear that you lost such an influential person in your life. I also appreciate you sharing the experience and a new meaning to the word GONE. Bonnie sounded like a special lady. I'm glad Eddie enjoyed BART and I'm glad you got time with your family.

steph.kelley said...

Julie, I'm sorry that you lost a friend. You are making the best of it, as always, with GONE. Blessings on you and your family! Your little guy is adorable. (Side note, every time I ride my bike through Orinda from my gramma's to the BART station I wonder when I'll ever get to stop in that Loard's! :D) xoxoxo