I came home from ten days in Florida feeling refreshed, ready to shed the cloak of sadness that had been trying to envelope me in 2009. However, the blues are never too far away it seems. In the simple gesture of checking my mail that had piled up since I was gone, I discovered a Christmas card that was returned to me. The reason stated on the envelope, deceased. Even though I noticed the absence of the card from my friend over the holidays, I hadn’t yet taken to the time to research why after 20 years would a card fail to arrive.
From a simple phone call to a mutual friend I discovered Peggy Kehoe died in her sleep on 10/29. No wake or funeral was held. Her body was donated to science. Just like that a person living, then gone without a trace. It was as if she wasn’t even here. As if her life didn’t matter enough for someone to call a list of friends she did keep in contact with even once a year, and tell them of her passing. It felt like there were no witnesses to her life. It made me think about how many people live a life that ends like this and how devastating that thought feels.
Then I realized that I was a witness for Peggy, even if she didn’t remember, I did. She was the cook in the rectory I worked in as a kid. I was a secretary for the priests and eventually the cook, on the cook’s day off. She was a great listener, a gift to every teenager whose world can be filled with worries. We shared a meal at least once a week thoughout my high school years. When we broke bread, tears through laughter were a common occurrence. She watched me grow from a girl to a young woman, even asking me to come to the rectory on prom night so she could see us before the dance. She filled the pantry of the rectory with food not only for the priests, but discovered what our favorite foods were as well. She was a mother, a mentor, a confidant and friend.
Peg never married, even though her heart was so big it could fill a room. She knew how to love. What received her greatest love were the dogs in her life. Yet a pet’s lifetime is short, too short for all the love Peggy could give. She never really recovered from loosing her pets. Think about how it would feel to loose 2-3 children in your lifetime. For folks who love pets as children, that is the heartbreak they suffer. It could literally cause you to loose your taste for happiness.
I’ve also thought of all of us who wake every day. Do we know the gift we are to each other? Do we look each other in the eyes? We are all a witness to each other in this life. A simple word, a kind gesture could be the very thing that changes another person, or gives them hope for another day. I think of how lucky we are, those of us in direct sales who witness each other coming alive to a level we may have never known. Where sadness fades and confidence grows, till it makes someone shine in a way they never have before. We are all a witness to each other, let’s be grateful for the awareness of the blessing.
©Eileen Kosar Used With Permission PFTH@aol.com