4 years ago, my friend Victoria's brother passed very suddenly. I can't imagine losing a sibling so young: Peter was only 32. I never met him, but let me tell you what I learned about Peter.
I remember wanting to leave early for his wake, and ended up arriving slightly early. It was a cold, gray day in February. I brought a hat (being follicular-ly challenged as I am). It was cold.
I had trouble parking; there were so many cars. A line of people waited, fading somewhere far ahead. I didn't live close, but I knew the funeral home stood somewhat nearby. So many people, so many cars...so many teens (Peter was a singular kind of teacher). People softly talking, steeled against the unforgiving cold and wind. The end of the line disappeared behind me faster than the line moved forward. No one left the line.
Stories floated around me about Peter's goodness. I listened: I didn't know him. I knew his sister; I ached for my friend. Sometimes one might get the idea that people are connected- similar dress, similar speech, similar ages. I had difficulty threading anyone together (except for the teens, his students) but for one thing: the common bond for us all was Peter.
Inside the funeral home, we waited, we hugged his family, we said...not enough, but what can one say? I saw co-workers and staff from my office. We lingered. We left.
The following day, family, students, friends told us about Peter. The auditorium was packed with people. Images of Peter flashed up on the screen in front of us; seeing Peter with family, with students made me wish that I had known him. REALLY wish I had known him.
Next week, my friend is running the Boston Marathon, for him and for The Children's Room. After Peter passed, The Children's Room was there for Peter's family like they are for anyone who needs them in such times. Not enough people know about this place, but they should.
Here's Victoria's story.
Today, I write about Peter, not just because his sister, my friend, is running the Marathon for him and for the Children's Room. I am writing because his message, "Find your path. Give back. Make good choices," is a GOOD message.
We all have our own path, even if it's a bit curvy.
Giving back just feels damn good, improves one's section of the world, and is contagious.
Thinking first, making good choices - what else can one say?
On Patriot's Day, my thoughts will be with Victoria. Good luck, Vic. I'm fortunate to have met your brother through you.
5 hours ago