Sunday, March 30, 2014

Another Good Bye

So I look like a geek. Who didn't in 1978?

I went to the funeral of a dear friend's husband today. I have known her since elementary school , we graduated from high school together and have kept in touch for over three decades.

This is how close us Russell grads remain. The above photo is from the East Point Historical Society. It's a pic of my cheer-leading megaphone. My aunt did the artwork, always did for as long as I can remember.

My high school was and IS extraordinary. We were considered the Poor high school. My husband graduated from the Rich one. My other friends graduated from our rival, Headland High School.

The thing about Russell peeps is ties bind deep. We all still get together, sometimes several times a year. My husband who graduated from the ritzy high school in our town went to a reunion with me one year. He is two years younger than me but remarked when we went in, "There are people here who graduated from your school before I was even born."

Yep, that's my school!

We are a heartfelt and dedicated bunch. Once a Wildcat, always a Wildcat.

Today I attended the funeral of one of my school mate's husband. He was only two years older than me. He was diagnosed with ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease a few years back. Unfortunately it is a diagnosis equal to an ultimate death sentence. My friend and her sons took great care of him and gave him everything they could to make his life comfortable, or as comfortable as ALS gets.

 I had to work the lunch shift at work but  told both my bosses I absolutely HAD to go to this funeral. I left at the last minute but  got there in time to speak to my friend before the service.

The place was packed. We sat like sardines on pews but as I said, us Russell peeps are close anyway. I sat between my good friend from high school, Stella and another buddy, Mac Duff. Another buddy, who we always called Baby Huey was next to him with Stella's sister in between.

I looked around the room and saw my past. Dozens and dozens of Russell peeps, all there to support another fellow Wildcat.

It was a wonderful service. A funeral ABOUT the person, not just some preacher trying to get a sermon in.

I am so blessed to have gone to a school where people not only remember you but love you...no matter what.

People who went to our high school didn't have a lot of money but were certainly blessed beyond the wildest riches with love, friendship and compassion. We love each other and always will.

I know so many people , my husband included who forget who they went to school with. He still has two or three good friends he keeps in touch with...I have hundreds.

My friend, who lost the love of her life was surrounded today WITH her life, literally.

I can't think of a better tribute.



Far too young to be trapped by ALS but uplifted today by everyone who loved and WILL love him for years to come.

I hugged my high school friend today as I came into the funeral with minutes to spare. She told me she had read part of a blog I had written about her earlier. It had been late one night and were messaging each other when her husband had been diagnosed. Her response had been "I'm just not good with this end of life shit." (pardon the expression)

You know what? Yes she was. She's always been an amazing person. She wasn't a cheer leader in high school or an athlete. She let her sister be the athlete. My friend was simply, and still is just a rock and roll chick with a heart of gold.

I guess we met in second grade. That makes us friends since around 1966. That, my readers is what friendship is all about.

People who went to Russell High School, MY school...are the real deal. It's been over thirty five years for me and a lot longer for others but a crazy kind of bond  I am lucky enough to have.

We were a school of white, black, average income and lower income. We had a couple of well to do kids, but in our world...THEY were the outcasts.

We were a unit. We were a family and luckily still are.

It's going to be tough for her but at least not for her husband anymore.

I have full faith in our classmates. We'll check on her, we'll bother her but we'll all make sure she is okay.

"Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver and the other one's gold."

I have casual friends, I have acquaintances, I have close friends, new friends and  have old friends. Older is always better in my book.




When you're down and troubled and you need a helping hand
and nothing, whoa, nothing is going right.
Close your eyes and think of me and soon I will be there
to brighten up even your darkest nights.

You just call out my name, and you know where ever I am
I'll come running to see you again.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall, all you have to do is call and I'll be there, yeah, yeah,
you've got a friend.

If the sky above you should turn dark and full of clouds
and that old north wind should begin to blow,
keep your head together and call my name out loud.
Soon I will be knocking upon your door.
You just call out my name, and you know where ever I am
I'll come running to see you again.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall, all you have to do is call and I'll be there.

Hey, ain't it good to know that you've got a friend? People can be so cold.
They'll hurt you and desert you. Well, they'll take your soul if you let them,
oh yeah, but don't you let them.

You just call out my name, and you know where ever I am
I'll come running to see you again.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall, all you have to do is call, Lord, I'll be there, yeah, yeah,
you've got a friend. You've got a friend.
Ain't it good to know you've got a friend. Ain't it good to know you've got a friend.
Oh, yeah, yeah, you've got a friend.


Til next time...COTTON

3 comments:

Donna Dempsey said...

Sitting here with tears in my eyes reading this wonderful story...Its so true we are a different breed of people us wildcats...We all had wonderful childhood memories. Thank you Kelly

Donna Dempsey said...

Sitting here with tears in my eyes reading this wonderful story...Its so true we are a different breed of people us wildcats...We all had wonderful childhood memories. Thank you Kelly

kelly cotton said...

It was totally my pleasure!