I’m back in the solitude of my hotel room after a long, emotionally-charged day. I knew that it would be. But I don’t think I was quite prepared for the overall intensity of the feelings that were flowing so fiercely through my mind and body.
From the moment I woke up this morning, I was on edge. It was a toss of the coin whether I would wobble along that precipice or tumble headlong into the abyss. There were a few close calls. The slightest, most frivolous things threatened to send me to a point of no return.
Fortunately, I have friends – to whom I owe immense apologies for some of those moments that, I’m sure, concerned them greatly – who wrapped me in love and understanding, both literally and figuratively. My relationships with these women have grown and deepened. There are things that only we know and only we understand. (Because what happens in Kansas City, stays in Kansas City, right girls?)
Does this mean that we are now an elite clique? Of course not. There are parts of the weekend that we will, in fact, be able to share with others. But there are many parts that, quite frankly, had a “you had to be there” quality to them. And much would get lost in the telling. Instead, we’ll cherish those moments and those memories that brought us all closer. At least, I know I will.
The memorial service for Sandra Moran Pletcher (12/20/1968 – 11/7/2015) was beautiful and powerful. It matched Sandra, perfectly. The readings were well-chosen and lovely. The eulogists were well-spoken and their words were touching and witty and oh-so-apropos. The music was magnificent. There were tears and there was laughter.
There were more than 300 people at the service. People from so many parts of Sandra’s life. Some overlapping. Some completely separate. Some knew Sandra for weeks, some for month, some for years, some for decades. Everyone had at least one story to share, I’m sure – each story unique, yet completely familiar.
Sandra, of course, was the common denominator. She was the one connection that everyone in that room had with one another. Love, respect, and admiration for Sandra tied us all together for that time. During that memorial service, there were no strangers in the room.
THAT is the Sandra Effect.
Later in the day, I had the opportunity and pleasure to meet some of Sandra’s life-long friends – friends from childhood, high school, college. Lovely, delightful people. In a couple of cases, we already “knew” each other through Sandra. Not that “we’re both Sandra’s friends, therefore we have a connection” sort of thing. Instead there was a true recognition of each other – “oh, you’re Sandra’s friend from….” It was as if Sandra was in the room, tugging at our arms, saying, “You two need to meet each other.”
The evening was spent back at the hotel with our hearty group. We drank wine and we ate pizza. (Both were good.) And we talked. Each of us had at least one no-poop-I-was-actually-there Sandra story to share. We discussed the service and Sandra’s impact on our lives and the lives of others. We laughed – a lot. We cried – a lot. We waxed philosophical. We cracked bawdy jokes. We made a valiant attempt to solve world problems.
We hugged – a lot. We said, “I love you” – a lot.
Tomorrow, we all go our own ways. Each to our own homes. Some of us in cars and some of us on planes. But, I think, having shared this weekend together, we each go home a bit changed. I’ll be taking a little part of each of these women with me. And the next time I see any of them, there will be that small spark that will bring our connection back into the light. The memories of this weekend will again rise to the surface. No doubt, my love and affection for them will runneth over in those moments and I will have no choice but to wrap them in hugs.
I will tell them I love them.
I will thank Sandra for touching my life.