Thursday, September 27, 2007

When Words Become Precious Gifts

Today I went to an afternoon stage production with five friends. While waiting on line to get in, I saw an old aquaintance whose chidren knew my daughter Marcy. The mother, Yetta, and her son Mark were there to see the production also. Mark's wife wrote it and stars in it. After saying hello to Yetta, I was introduced to her son. "Mark, this is Sandy Fox. Do you remember Sandy's daughter, Marcy Finerman?" Before Mark's mom could explain the circumstances now, Mark blurted out, "Yes," he said, his eyes lighting up, "we went to grade school together, and how is Marcy doing?" "She was killed in a car accident 13 years ago," I answered. Yetta was very embarrassed, but Mark didn't miss a beat. "I'm so sorry," he said very sincerely. "Marcy and I were friends. I do remember her," he said. "Yes," I said to him, "I remember your name among her friends. I was looking at a 41-year-old man, the same age as Marcy would have been this year, but, of course, would have never recognized him. But Yetta had remembered Marcy from almost 30 years ago. With her reaction, she gave me a precious gift.

Her gift was just mentioning Marcy's name. She didn't have to. She was aware of what happened 13 years ago. Even though we had lost touch many years prior, she had heard the news and remembered it. Most bereaved parents want nothing more than for someone to acknowledge their child existed and is still remembered. Although I have nothing in common with Mark, the kindness on his face told me all I needed to know, and his mother's words allowed me to talk comfortably, even if briefly, about her and the situation.

Marcy's best friend Lynn always talks about her and Marcy's time together, about places they went to, about things they did, about the hopes and dreams they both had for their future. I am very lucky to be close to Lynn and I know Lynn will always remember Marcy and not be afraid to talk about her, laugh with me and share great memories.

One of my friends at the theater production came up to me afterwards and said, "It must feel good to have someone bring up your daughter's name and remember that they went to school together so long ago." "Yes, very good," I said to my friend. To myself I thought, "You can't know how good!"

Knowing our children are remembered and live on in the hearts and lives of others, no matter how briefly, is a measure of the wonderful legacy they have left to us and to everyone they knew and who knew them.

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