I went to Craig’s memorial service on Thursday night. I had a class that night for this financial program I signed up for through my church, but, this was more important. I was a bit nervous. This was way too close to home, as I’ve said, with his daughter being the same age as Liv and this being the first service I was going to for a multiple myeloma friend. I was afraid I was going to have a real hard time keeping it together. I’m not fond of wakes. Who is. I think they are brutal on the family. I really hate open casket ones. It’s different if someone has had a long life, but, when someone dies in their prime, I’m not sure if seeing people come out to pay respects is enough to sooth the pain of standing next to your loved one’s lifeless body. As it turned out, though this service was held at a funeral parlor, they did not have Craig’s body there. I was relieved, mostly for his family. There were photos all over, items of his, flowers, and a big screen TV with photos for people to watch. I came out of this service just amazed. I have only known Craig since his dx in 2008. My family went to his house once. But, I did not know about his life much before his diagnosis. He graduated with TWO degrees from MIT. Was a member of Mensa.
He LOVED travelling and had visited 47 states, and 36 countries on 6 different continents. The pictures were nothing short of amazing. He rock climbed, scuba dived, he did it all. His whole life was a “bucket list.” I could point at 20 people right now, and all of them combined would not have had the life experiences this one man did in his 59 years here. I was both glad to see this, that he had lived SO fully and explored SO much, packing so much into those 59 years, but also sad, because this was a man that was really making it count and he was so amazing and out-going. It was obvious that he made life exciting for those around him. What a tremendous loss to those who knew and loved him. I found myself wishing I had known him better. Despite all that, this was a man who had his demons. He told me once that he suffered from depression for years. Some of those trips were spiritual quests, trips he made searching for inner peace. Even more amazing that someone who struggled with depression still lived like he did. His wife, Leslie, and daughter, Elizabeth, did really well during this service. That’s why I could hold it together. If other people cry, it gets me going. They were very strong. Still, very hard to look at Elizabeth and not feel just as I do for Liv. You got ripped off, kid. And, despite Craig having all these wonderful experiences, he was not done. He had a daughter to finish raising and a lot more he wanted to do. They had a trip booked for Paris that they had to cancel. He had not completed his “bucket list.” I came home and spoke to Tim about it. I said, “this sucks, we’re doing nothing with our lives.” He said, “Denise, they had a lot of money and he could afford to take a lot of time off and pay for all those trips. That’s just not how it is for most people.” He’s right, but, I looked at those pics with Elizabeth in them and thought of how badly I want my kid to see things I saw in this country by the time I was her age. I don’t need to go to Thailand and all those exotic places, though there are some countries I wouldn’t mind seeing. Ireland, Italy. But, I wish I could just rent an RV and take Tim and Liv across country to see the national parks and all that. I talked to Tim about doing a trip in this country for his 50th instead of some island,(I’m kinda nervous about going somewhere with sub-par medical care) but he seems to want to do the island thing. Oh well. I read something a LONG time ago and never forgot it. It said, “money can’t buy happiness, but it can sure make misery a lot easier to deal with.”