This has been kind of a bittersweet day; not a particularly sad one, but making me pensive enough to head into that corner of my mind that handles grief combined with wonderful memories and thoughts.
A former college instructor and friend died the end of June, and his memorial service was held yesterday in the San Diego area. His wife had died in April and according to another friend, "Bob began to let go of life after her passing, in his own quiet, accepting, intentional way."
He was 95 years old, and in those many years, he packed so much into his life. I first met him as the teacher of my Grossmont College Creative Writing class back in the late 1960s. He used to invite class members to his house where we'd each read our current writing and receive feedback. My mother also took a class with him and attended those meetings as well. His wife Delores was a beautiful woman, much younger than Bob, with long, thick, brown hair. Their house was a haven for all of us prospective writers.
Several years later, my husband, young daughter, and I moved from San Diego to Portland, Oregon and I lost track of Bob for about 35 years. When I returned to Southern California around 2003 or 2004, can't remember which right now, I visited Summit Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in La Mesa and was promptly greeted, by name, by a fairly elderly gentleman whom I almost remembered. There was something about him that seemed familiar. Yes, that was Bob, now almost 90 years old. Still sharp as the proverbial tack. In fact, he asked how my mother was, calling her by name as well. He and his wife were among the founding members of the church, and people there held him in very high esteem. Everyone listened to his ideas and thoughts, and laughed at his marvelous jokes.
Each year the church held their annual fund-raising auction and, true to form, Bob offered the sermon of their choice --written and given by him, to the highest bidder. Someone bid $1000 for the privilege of hearing that sermon. He also wrote and published his first fiction book at around age 90. I don't remember the title, but it was a wonderfully written romance novel.
When I did my nine-month ministry internship at that church, Bob, Delores and I became quite good friends. Although it was sad to see how much Delores had aged--much faster than Bob-- it was wonderful to see how beautifully and lovingly he cared for her.
Today James Ford, in his blog "Monkey Mind, " included a special version of the hymn, "Amazing Grace, " performed by The Blind Boys of Alabama. This has been my favorite version of the song ever since I first heard it on the car radio quite a few years ago. And tonight I dedicate it to Bob and Delores Moore, two people who truly were amazing and full of grace, both to themselves and to everyone whom they touched.