I remember it like it was yesterday. I just don’t remember whether it was Marsha’s 40th or 50th birthday. Pretty sure it was #40 and Duane *Duke*, husband and love of her life and her son, Scotty, were throwing a big surprise bash for her. A blast to the past — the fifties!!
We (being her family and friends from all parts of her life) were waiting in ambush in the darken hotel banquet room for her innocent arrival for a “family dinner”. Surprise!
Marsha walks into the scene to the amped up music rendition of “My Girl”, and looking upon the stage, there sees the Duke, suavely attired in his letter sweater, baggie slacks and saddle shoes, while son, Scotty plays away on the electric guitar, both perfectly lip-syncing to the famous tune. I never since hear that song without reliving the magic of that moment in time.
Stunned, Marsha is guided to her table, has her hands to her cheeks in disbelief, and eventually begins laughing so hard, tears stream from her eyes. She often laughed that way — with her tears — when overcome with rediculousness, and this fit the bill. She later said, everytime she looked around the room, she was surprised by seeing some friend who had come there to be with her at this fun time.
Today, we are crying tears of another kind, the very sad kind. I received the very sad news that Marsha had passed unexpectedly and suddenly on May 12, 2016, just last week — after surviving several health challenges and surgical procedures. She suffered a post-surgery heart attack after returning home from the hospital for an anticipated recovery. I received this sad news from a telephone call friend, Diane Ignatowski made to me after speaking with Barbara, whom Duane had called.
We are shocked and grieved. Each day since, I feel a bit of the lead in my heart. Marsha’s funeral Mass will be tomorrow, May 18 and we unite with her and Duane and family in sorrow for this loss and gratitude for the gift of life that Marsha was.
I felt my immediate response to be once again to “raise the wall”. The one that doesn’t protect, but engages instead the dull ache of what has to be eventually accepted and then released with tears. Some of that will probably happen at the memorial that will be Marsha’s at a Mass liturgy in Lansing. I will be there.
In the meantime, I look at a SoulCollage card I recently created. The Wallbuilder. There I am, hastily adding bricks and mortar to my wall, trying to escape from all those dreadful feelings!! The wall does a pretty poor job of that.
But the two clocks are there. The one in the palm of my hand reminds me of the gift of time was all had with Marsha. Time, oh precious time, we have with our loved ones. Gift indeed.
We had a gift of time that spanned from our high school days into our 70th decade of life. We enjoyed ever so often girl trips to fun places, under the direction of Diane Ignatowski. We treasured our friendship.
Diane Ignatowski, Barbara Czubak, Marsha, Sue, Diane Hess, and Mary Lee Green. The trips were all fun, but perhaps none more than the trip to Atlantic City, with an ocean view hotel room.
Oh, and then there was the casino downstairs. Diane used to wait in the room for us to return to see how fast each one ran out of their gambling fund. Mary Lee shared a birthday cake (I think this was our 40th) table celebration with the guys at the table next to us because she had beaten them the night before at the Black Jack table!
Our friendship spanned special events in our different life trails….
2000 -Dinner Celebration in Rome
on pilgrimage & writing and video production
It spanned our college times together, our career moves, the building of our families up through this point in time.
We’ve shared Shamrock reunions and RHS monthly luncheons.
John brought many of us together and the luncheon gatherings continue.
And there is always the published yearbook pages. Barb and I were co-editors of the Shamrockette in 1961, something I will always treasure. Thanks, Sister Ann Judith.
Coach Paul Cook remained a shaper of our abilities and belief in ourselves, so many can claim. Marsha and Diane and I enjoyed girls basketball for Resurrection.
and we all sang for Miss Klein. Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, especially. And the boys always pushed someone off the top tier, to her total consternation (as she laughed underneath it all).
The Jackson’s and the English’s became down south and up north neighbors, enjoying the good life both had to offer.
Sparty remains a good friend of us all.
Never a happier Marsha than in her married life with Duane, her visits with son, Scotty and her enjoyment of grandmotherhood. I am so happy she had her recent California visit with them all.
To Barb, may God fill up the hole this leaves with his Amazing Grace.
Most say death is a slowing down. It can look like that. But I am beginning to think that is not true. I think death is actually such a speeding up of the good, whole, spirit and soul of a person that the vibration of uniting, at last with God, is too FAST for the body to contain it, and it flies out of its “container” — its Temple, and continues to unite with all that is Love and God.
We are united to you, Marsha, through our Love, and know that God will bless us with the Love we need as we continue life without you here, facing forward to the time we, too, will be in love and union once again with you.
God bless Duane and your family and friends. We all need it.