Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Honoring my friend

I was at a school tonight where I presented a scholarship which carries the name of one of my dearest friends who died a few years ago. I have to leave the details out for anonymity's sake but I hope it's still interesting and, maybe, touching.
My friend and I worked together years ago and then parted career paths but stayed very close. She had been married and divorced and had no children. She was, as I said tonight in my little talk as I gave the scholarship, a woman of great integrity, faith and enthusiasm. She had left me some of her beautiful jewelry and I wore her
garnet tennis bracelet tonight wishing so much that it was she giving the award wearing that beautiful bracelet.
Tonight, I was to tell a bit about her and then very casually surprise the winner by just throwing his name into my talk and THAT was so much fun! When I mentioned his name...saying something like "....and so now that you know (my friend) a little better, I know she'd be so proud and thrilled that (his name) is getting this award...", the whole room burst into applause for the young man and it was honestly one of the most fun moments I've had in a long time.
Later, his grandmother approached me, asking "Tell me more about (your friend)!" Both his grandmother and mother were terrific and from the inner city, so it was such a huge thing for me to be able to have my friend's scholarship help their boy get through school.
What began this whole thing was that I'd visited my friend shortly before she died and told her about the school and she was so taken with what I told her that she asked how she could help so I suggested she donate money toward a scholarship. The letter of thanks for her check that my friend got from the school came with the wonderful news that the school had decided to keep the scholarship in her name for
perpetuity! I believe that letter might have been the very last thing my friend was able to read before she slipped into unconsciousness and passed on.
Anyway, I felt so grateful to be able to talk about her tonight and then to be able to thrill this boy and his family and I wanted to share it with you. Really good things
do happen and I wish you could have all been there to see that boy's face. I got the feeling that though he'd never meet my friend, he'd never forget her name, and as I said "I hope you will live your life with the same great integrity, faith and enthusiasm that she had," he smiled and said "I will." I'll be taking off the garnet bracelet in a few minutes but I'll never forget this feeling and I'll never forget that boy or my friend who made his future brighter.
z

21 comments:

Linda said...

What a wonderful legacy!

Beverly said...

What a beautiful way to start my day. Thanks, Z.

Joe said...

Great story! What a blessing!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful story Z. How nice you could honor your friend's memory in such a meaningful way.

Pris

Z said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed the story....I woke up still glowing from the good feelings.
Thanks, everybody xx

Faith said...

A very touching and inspiring story, thanks.

Brooke said...

How wonderful.

Your friend sounds like a very good person. It's nice that even after death she can continue to do good.

Elmers Brother said...

Love it Z. Wonderful and uplifting. We need more of that. thanks.

Anonymous said...

Nice story, Z. Both you and your friend are good people...inspiring.

Waylon

Anonymous said...

It is so great to read about someone who left such a powerful legacy. We should all make such a profound difference in this world. God Bless you for sharing Z.

HAM

cube said...

Thank you for sharing such a wonderful story. I'd be on cloud nine for years after something like that.

Leticia said...

Beautiful story and what an awesome legacy your friend has left behind.

Good friends are so hard to find.

Jen said...

Beautiful tribute, Z. Thank you for sharing.

Jen said...

There's nothing quite like a rush of joy and gratitude to sweep you off your feet, huh? :-)

Z said...

I love having shared this story and read your amazing comments..thank you SO MUCH.
it's so NOT about ME, I must admit I felt almost greater than SHE did when they wrote her saying they'd keep her scholarship going into perpetuity, but this is all about HER.
And that GREAT KID. I WISH you could have looked into those eyes and seen that "I'm a great person" look in them...you know that look.He had it.

By the way, she'd moved to N California some years before she died and Mr. Z was so unbelievably patient and kind and WILLING when I asked if we could fly up and spend 3 days with her before she died... We spent so little time at the hotel and so much great quality time with her...Then we flew back up almost 2 months later for her funeral, at which I sang WIND BENEATH MY WINGS at her request.
She called me the day the doc told her it was finally TERMINAL, FROM HIS OFFICE, talking as if she'd run a race with a train from nervous energy and said "Are you alone?" I said "No,....Mr. Z's here" She said "could you get him?" So I did.

He came downstairs and sat near me and she told me she was terminal and would I sing at her funeral...
Here's a woman who'd gone through countless chemo therapies and gone home to a house empty, save for her 2 cats, suffered terribly all alone and still went to work every day in San Francisco because she worried about her health insurance (turned out she needn't have, and that hurt me SO MUCH when I found she'd been misled and she was WELL covered even if she'd stopped work!)...Anyway, she went through HELL alone and didn't want me alone when she told me she had 3 months to live.

That was my friend.

Z said...

Jen, I felt like Santa's Helper! it was the MOST amazing feeling, you're right.

Always On Watch said...

An outstanding and uplifting story!

I needed this shot in the arm right now.

The Merry Widow said...

Sounds like a great lady, it's so uplifting to know someone like that!

They also challenge us to be more than our usual selves.

Cherish the memories, they comfort us when we are down!

tmw

Z said...

I know, TMW, and she thought I was "more" than HER usual self...AS IF.
I could NEVER NEVER NEVER be as courageous as she was as I described in my last comment.

Plus, I'm the luckiest girl around because I have such amazing family...sisters most women would PAY to have........

Since Mr. Z's death, I had to go to my lawyer MOnday...my sis and her hubby go to him, too, and they went WITH ME.....They're very busy people and gave it all up to spend the day with me, comforting me (it was hard going to that office where, ten years ago, Mr. Z and I'd prepared our wills...who's have thought that next time I went, he'd be gone? That was tough for me), supporting me, listening to make sure THEY were up on my stuff, too...so they could better help me.

My friend had NOTHING of that......no siblings, no folks, no husband to help....nada. Plenty of friends, but ....she'd not have relied on them as you do family. She was QUITE A GREAT WOMAN.

Law and Order Teacher said...

Z,
Don't we all hope that there will be people who love us around us? Whether in life or death that's what's important, right? If that is true and I think it is, your friend was rich at death. I've felt my father died rich and I think Mr. Z and your friend were rich too.

Z said...

well, Law and Order, I was sure rich for knowing my friend and my amazing husband, that's for SURE.
I just wish you could have seen that young boy's look of astonishment when I mentioned his name as the winner....It's a moment I WILL NEVER forget.
And, to have my friend's name associated with such goodness and excitement was overwhelming.
I drove home wishing SO BADLY that Mr. Z could have shared it with me. thanks for reading this...xxx