As you may recall, my childhood friend Liz died in December and her brother had a memorial at their place in January. He said there’d be an interment ceremony at the cemetery at some time. Liz’ mom Liza died in June, and so James decided to have them both buried on August 13th.
So last Tuesday I met mom in Penticton, and we drove out to the Lakeview Cemetery. It was a blistering hot day, and were all out in full sun. About 20 people attended. The men from the funeral home, and James, were in suits, so must’ve been very warm.
A few words were spoken by a religious representative, then James talked about his mom and Liz. He said Liz had promised him she’d come back and give him a sign, which he said she had done. James said it confirmed his belief in the afterlife.
The two urns of ashes were there side by side, along with what Liz had requested for her journey. She wanted the medal she’d received when she headed the Triathlon for the Sydney games, and photos of her family as well as of her home in Osoyoos. As James, his daugher Teresa, and his wife Julie lowered the urns Julie sang.
Afterwards we were all invited to the condo for a really nice buffet. As I stood there eating and chatting to Teresa, Liz’ only niece, I said, “Well I’m here for my Barbie. Even though you beat the hell out of it as a kid, I still want it.” Teresa paled, but said nothing.
Then I saw James and said to Teresa, “I’m going to ask him for it right now” and marched toward him. When I mentioned it he asked me to come into another room with him and said, “there’s good news and bad news.”
He explained after Liz died he sorted through her stuff, threw out a lot, and then brought the rest to his home in Midway. He said to Teresa to pick something of her aunt’s that she would like. Teresa immedately said “I want Liz’ baby blanket.”
James, being a male, had thrown it out! He told me when he said that to Teresa (age 24) she screamed angrily then burst into tears and cried for a day. The next day he said “Okay what other thing might you want?” and she immediately replied, “Liz’ Barbie.”
Teresa told her dad she’d had hours of good times playing with it as a child, so that’s why she wanted it. I guess at this point James must’ve felt quite ill, as he had to try to explain to her that I wanted the Barbie. Apparently this caused more anger and tears.
At this point, I said to James, “Oh for the love of God, give Teresa the Barbie!” He asked if I wanted to think about it and I said “don’t be nuts. Liz would be so happy to know Teresa has the Barbie.”
He looked very relieved, and then I said, “what’s the good news?” He reached into his pocket and pulled out an envelope with my name on it. I thought maybe it was a last good bye to me from Liz. When I opened it, I saw it was a gift certficate to Art Knapps, but as I didn’t have my glasses on, I couldn’t read the amount clearly.
I said to James, “This looks like $2500” and he said, “It IS $2500!” Can you imagine? How extraordinarily sweet and thoughtful it was of Liz to think of me and my garden on her deathbed. Thanks, Lizzo.