yesterday afternoon

11/20/2023 0 By BuddyCushman

I went to a memorial yesterday. For a man I meet on Zoom, during the early sorrow of my 2021 unfolding divorce, me in Portland, him here – San Diego. The memorial on a stretch of grass just before the beach. The family provided lots of chairs, but I leaned against the lone palm tree for an hour and 15 minutes. The sky was blue, the sun shining. Before the service began I watched long lines of pelicans flying north to south out beyond the sand bluff dividing the grass from the beach and the ocean. I counted eight and 10 and 14. Magic pelicans.

Many people walked up before the chairs and spoke, though only some words made it past the waves and planes taking off overhead, the breeze. I spoke and talked about a phone call from Kevin on a Saturday morning when I was walking on Reed College Way – walking pretty much all I had those weeks – sharing with Kevin I was having a problem accepting all the help being offered from people showing up from the long woodwork of my life, a not worthy thing, and Kevin telling me the offers of help were not just about me. That helping was/is a gift for the helper as well, and I didn’t have the right to deny that. The call helped me, I did better, and six or so months later I met Kevin on a Friday morning in a San Diego room, maybe half a mile from this grassy patch, where people go to talk about their stuff and maybe find encouragement. Thereafter I got to spend some face-to-face time with him. And then he died of cancer.

There was a clear sense of “It’s A Wonderful Life” yesterday afternoon, everyone speaking distinctly of their life having been enriched in their relationship with Kevin, his kindness and generosity. Another image that came to my mind – Jacob Marley telling Scrooge, who had just said, “You were so good at business,” Marley and his rattling chains in reply, “My business was humanity.”

Some of my yesterday afternoon.