A little more than a month ago, I attended the memorial service for a Rick Kulwicki at Fairmount Cemetary, the same place where my grandparents and my favorite aunt happen to be laid to rest. The place doesn't really hold a lot of fond memories for me.
Barely ten years old, I remember wiping tears from my eyes as I watched my grandfather being lowered into the ground. I also remember my dad pointing out the unmarked grave of my grandmother, as I tried to wrap my young mind around the whole concept of death. Some twenty odd years later, we repeated the process with my aunt, only this time, I fully grasped the frailty of life. Death represents sadness and loss. That's what I learned in the intervening years.
And while that is certainly true, there's a flip side to that coin, as Rick's memorial service proved. Seeing all of the people who came to celebrate his life -- the lifelong friends, family, fans of his bands, neighbors, co-workers, baseball buddies -- and listening to those dear to him share their anecdotes and give heartfelt testimonies to his selfless, kind-hearted devotion and to hear just how full of life he was... well, that was probably one of the most profound experiences I've had in recent memory. We should all be so lucky to have impacted so many people and to be remembered so fondly.