It’s been seven weeks since Lisa Kelly’s passing. It’s a Japanese custom to acknowlege each week for the first seven weeks, something that almost, I’m sorry to say, slipped my mind.
Because on my bad days, it feels like I just had dinner with her the night before.
On my good days, it feels like it’s only been a week at the most since she passed.
The only reason I started counting is because Lisa’s friend, Kim, mentioned that a month had elapsed in a blog post. No way, I thought. We just had the memorial. But pulling up the calendar proved me wrong, and I realized that I had three weeks left to make up for it.
My friend Nina had suggested holding a small birthday celebration last Saturday for Lisa at her “new place.” I stopped by Whole Foods and picked up some cupcakes for the occasion – I managed to convince Lisa to have dessert *that* night, and figured she wouldn’t object to another round of sweets. (When you’re in Heaven, calories don’t count. If they do, then it’s not Heaven.) The day was cloudy with patches of rain, but the sun did eventually pop its head out towards the end (just like at her funeral).
There was wine, chips, cheese sticks, a sausage and cheese platter, and those sugar cookies you see at the grocery store that are frosted and covered with sprinkles. We were just a main course short of having a full-fledged meal in the hills of Forest Lawn. Since our location was a cemetary, we couldn’t help talking about funerals and other loved ones who had passed. I couldn’t keep the tears back, but for once they weren’t from grief – I was crying because it felt like we were slowly getting rid of a heavy cloud that’s been hanging around since November 4th.
Our little group (Kim, Nina, Will, Lisa’s friend Jodi, Lisa, and myself) decided to sing “Happy Birthday” to her and “share” our wine (a fancier version of pouring one for the homies). It took almost everything I had left in me to make my voice sound cheery, but I’d like to think that Lisa got a kick out of us being a little tipsy and singing a little bit off-key just for her.
One of the last things I said to Lisa is that I wanted us to get together again for a drink before the year was over. And in a way, we did have that drink.
Going to visit a grave is typically a somber experience, but it wasn’t the case this time around. It’s still a sad occasion, to be sure, but when you’re with a group of friends who are gunning to make the best out of things, you can’t help but feel a little bit lighter.