Today I was able to go celebrate the life of a wonderful woman, Viola Fleming. When I heard of her passing, I knew I would be attending the funeral service no matter what, it wasn't a question, it was a definite.
I met this woman named Cathey when I worked for an equine surgeon. She was close to my mother's age, but had such a sense of humor and such a warm personality, we quickly went from just coworkers to very close friends. I rode one of her horses. Bear (actually, Cathey's son, Aaron's horse) and must admit to some pretty crazy riding adventures in the woods of Pembroke. I attended family events and parties and got know Cathey's family. Meme, as Viola was called by her grandchildren, had a wonderful sense of humor, a great smile, but had no problems telling anyone if they weren't exercising the best judgement. I was not immune from this...and you know what? She was right. I was about to do something stupid.
Cathey's sister, Susie quickly became a friend, also, along with Susie's daughter, Missy. I left the vet clinic but still rode Bear. Then, Bear injured her leg and I stopped riding her. I was no longer at Cathey's house every day, and eventually moved to Manchester. However, I kept in touch with Missy via email, attended Missy's baby shower and her son's christening. I would see everyone every few years and we'd pick up right where we left off. We didn't see each other much anymore, it happens to everyone, life gets in the way, but we still had that connection.
Today, I really felt the connection. I walked into the church, late, per usual, and went right up to the front and sat behind Missy and the rest of the family and didn't think twice about it. I was doing okay until I saw Susie teary, I started to cry then and when I hugged Cathey, well, I did wonder why I wasted my time putting on makeup this morning. It was a wonderful service...but the best credit to Viola is her family. They all know what's really important. I haven't seen any of them in over a year, yet I was immediately included in the family. There were some family members I didn't remember or hadn't met, but it didn't matter. Today, I was a Fleming. Maybe not by blood, but in the heart, where it really matters.
So, Meme, Rest in Peace. Your memory will always be alive and your kind and generous heart rests in your children and grandchildren. I feel blessed to be a part of it.