Not the least, of course, has been the passing of Sherrie Orpwood on Friday, December 18, 2009 ... which I briefly noted here.
Today was her Memorial Ceremony, and it was much more difficult ... personally ... than I had expected.
There were about 40 people in attendence. A dozen were there specifically because we knew Sherrie in the context of IPSC/USPSA competition, and most of us knew Sherrie and Lorin as a couple who worked the stages ... especially the Jungle Run ... together.
The rest of the folks at Sherrie's Memorial were Family, and Friends from work.
Sherrie and Lorin were 'second marriages', and I was not always clear on who was the progeny of Sherrie, or Lorin. So forgive me if I get the citatations wrong. The people at the ceremony were so loving in their paeans to Sherrie, I will always think of them as if she was their blood-mother/grandmother, and Lorin their blood father/grandfather.
Sherrie's son lead the ceremony, and I was impressed by his ability to control his emotions as he spoke of the love this woman.
Sherrie's husband, Lorin, found it difficult not to be overwhelmed by his grief. I sympathized with this; I'm not good at thinking of the deceased as "gone to a better place". All I can think of is the void their absence creates in this place, in which I reside.
Me and funerals (or 'Memorial Services') don't get along to good. They beat me up, and I whine a lot.
When the moment came for personal eulogies, I both dreaded, and desired to speak. I was too emotional, knew that I would not be able to give credit to this good woman, so I declined to present my eulogy. It was very simple, and perhaps I can give it now; because if I could write my eulogy, instead of speak it, it would sound something like this:
I've known Sherrie for something like ten or twelve years. I'm not sure how long. But in all that time, I have met them outside of a shooting range fewer times than I can count on the fingers of my thumbs.
I have heard many family members speak of the way that Sherrie and Lorin served to combine their families in comfort and in love, to the benefit of each family member. And I have heard tje the people who worked with Sherrie describe how effective she was as an on-line sales representative, because "she loved her customers".
But I knew Sherrie and Lorin in the context that they were always together.
They were a couple.
Their purpose was not to complete one another, but to BE with one another.
The best thing they did together in public, and the joint venture of which they were most proud, was that they first designed and implemented the "Jungle Run" stage in "Dundee Croc Matches" for several consecutive years.
Lorin and Sherrie both competed in USPSA competition from time to time. But that wasn't really very attractive to them. What they really enjoyed was designing and building a challenging stage, and then runnimg competitors through the stage to win, or lose it all ... Sherrie and Lorin were great advocates of encouraging competitors to seek their greatest rewards by "pushing the envelope", and they were always fair when evaluating the performance of each competitor.
But I couldn't give this Eulogy, because I was much to emotional at the Memorial Ceremony. Because my Significent Other ("SWMBO") is dealing with Lung Cancer, I was unable to control my emotions.
The USPSA people who were at Sherries's Memorial, besides myself, were:
Mike McCarter and Tom Chambers:
Bill and Nancy Marrs, Paul, and Jonathon (N.L.N.)
Caryn and Ron Shepherd.
When the service was over, I immediately grabbed my coat, draped it over my shoulders, and headed for the door. On the way out I noticed Caryn, then Rob Shepherd. I shook hands with both of them with out breaking stride, and in the process mentioned something like "too close to home, I can't deal with it'.
I would have loved to stay to talk to people who knew Sherrie and Lorin, but in truth I was far too emotional to communicate
Sandie is too vulnerable to the ... whatever ... that Sherrie experienced, and I cannot stand around and quietly discuss Sherrie without thinking about Sandie at the same time. This is, indeed too close to the areas in which I perceive myself as too vulnerable, and I am not prepared to deal with the prospect of loss at this time.
Lorin, I do hope that you understand that my running away was not because I care the less for your loss, or for the untimely loss of your lady Sherrie.
It's just that it is all close to home, and I am unable to control the emotions ... any more than were you, today.
Sorry, Pal. I know what you were going through, and I now how hard it is to deal with it when your nerve endings are prominent and you cannot handle the pain of the most unlikely comment... it's all pain, Lorin, and if I could take your pain into myself to spare you ... I would not have the strength; I could not, and I would not, take your pain.