Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Letter at a funeral

So, for our senior gift, we made a scholarship in the name of Linda Kitchen, who was a dear women who worked at Waterford/took care of all of us, who had recently been diagnosed with Jakob's disease. Once we decided that, I suggested to the student body president that we write a letter to Linda explaining our choice of gift. She was like "okay, do you wanna do that?" So me and my dear friend/phenomenally talented writer Emma (remember her?) set about writing that. What we came out with was an incredibly beautiful letter (if I do say so myself). Anyway, Linda Kitchen died last Thursday and on Sunday I got a call asking me to read that letter at her funeral today. So here we go. I don't want to post the whole letter here, but here's part:
We want you to know that you are missed and loved. And we want you to know that you made an impact on each of our lives. You knew our names from day one and instantly made it clear that you were there to help and support. Not one of us ever felt hesitant to come to you; we knew we would be heard and helped. You were the perfect example of generosity, compassion, and kindness. 
We haven’t sufficient means to express our gratitude for the many years you spent offering your support. There is no way we could ever repay your countless hours of selfless service, your genuine encouragement, the compassion and comfort you showed for our tears, and the perfect solutions to all our unsolvable problems. And of course, we can never thank you enough for your constant reassurance that no matter what, everything would be okay. When you told us that, we believed you, because you were always the one who made everything okay. 
We know we will never find a way to thank you for everything you have done for us, but nevertheless, we want to try. When our class was discussing our senior gift, we without pause unanimously jumped to one proposal: The Linda Kitchen Scholarship. We know that, because of your example, we are made into better, happier people. And now, we want to provide for future students the opportunities that have meant so much to us. We want them to have the home and support you provided for us.

Pretty, huh?
One problem: I'm kinda a pathological funeral crier. I've literally cried at the funeral of someone I never met. Funerals just pull up these emotions in me that I don't carry around every day, that I can't carry around every day. Generally speaking, I avoid funerals like a plague. But I don't think I'm being selfish in accepting the invitation to read this letter, and if I thought that I couldn't do this, I would have stepped back. I believe there's a reason I got that call; I believe that I can do this well. The letter was my idea, and in the first draft, before I'd enlisted Emma, every we was an I. That letter is as much my personal thank you as it is from the class. And for that reason, I believe that I can do this better than anyone else.

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