Last year I went to "Pauline's Celebration Of Life" event at the Unitarian church and brought this speech about Pauline even though I didn't know if I would be reading it.
In my life, especially when there have been events in my life that I have been invited to speak or sing there are times I have been forgotten. (as in they completely forget that I am on the program.)Whether it has been intentional or not, it doesn't matter.(by mistake probably. It especially sucks when I've spent a month for people who have asked me to sing, or when I've prepared comments over time and then since I'm at the end of the program, they have forgotten I'm singing, or speaking. This has happened at least 2 or 3 times in my life. It has been bizarre.) It has been painful for me when it has happened, especially with my past, where I was pretty much forgotten there too. The truth is in my old family I was pretty much told to sit down and shut up and anything I ever said was ignored and treated as if what I said didn't matter. (my new family thank God is nothing like this...and we've been married 28 years)
Whats funny is that when I left my old family and people really paid attention to what I said it freaked me out. For years when people really paid attention to what I had to say I would freeze. I wasn't used to being listened to. Thankfully I don't freeze anymore.
I have found my voice. I'll never lose it again.
I called Pauline's son about Pauline's celebration Of Life.
Pauline's son told me that he probably would have people come up and talk about what they remembered about Pauline.
I really wanted to tell everyone what I knew about her and how much I loved her. I was a bit afraid that the same thing would happen to me at her "celebration of life. That in my grief I would be passed over and forgotten somehow I would feel even worse.
I just wanted to tell everyone what an incredible person she was.
I got to the church (miracle that they got me to go to a church for this, let alone Pauline (she was athiest/agnostic. (This was a Unitarian church)
The pastor got up to speak.
The pastor called a few people up to speak, and then after everyone had spoken, the pastor suddenly announced my name.
Did he really announce my name?
I looked at her son...he looked at me motioning.
I almost started crying. I wasn't forgotten. I cannot thank him enough for this.
I got up, went up to the pulpit, and this is what I said:
"I’m afraid I would go on and on if I didn’t write this down.
Pauline and I met around music, online- I didn’t even live nearby. I lived in Lewiston Idaho
She was the moderator of a guitar group
I met her because of her letting people come to her house from all over the country come to her house for a guitar gathering(I thought she was nuts to let people she didn’t know do that) But I flew into Seattle with my husband and met at her house.
There are people I will remember forever because of her get together, including people I still know online.
I thought she was very formal (and classy) when I met her. Then she said something naughty and I thought... I could be friends with this lady.
My husband started going back and forth to Seattle from Lewiston for work and after a while I kept bugging him to just get a place there so he wouldn’t have to go back and forth, which he agreed to.
Suddenly I only lived 15 minutes away from her, and we would see each other at least once a week.
We would go food shopping together.
Later on after hearing about her parking... one time at Top foods she told me that a lady had gotten on her about the way she parked and Pauline told her “To go to hell”
I can still hear the fire in her voice when she told me about it. That woman could be SPICY when she wanted to be .
I can see her getting that “I am a classy lady” look in her eyes when she said “GO TO HELL” She knew just when to lay it on.
I ended up driving her shopping after that.
Her eyesight was going, which was agonizing to watch her go through.
However her sense of style cracked me up.
She had stickers that she put over parts of her glasses where her eyes were having problems to help her see better.
It was quite comical.
The thing about Pauline,,,
I know there were times when she would say “Heidi”, sometimes repeating herself several times after I had told her that something was really bothering me or I was getting worked up and she would just “say it like it was” in her rational way, and I would be like “Yeah, ok” and then we would discuss whatever it was… she just had a way of calming the storm, you know? I mean we got into some pretty big discussions, but the way she said “Heidi” Like “it’s going to be ok” really got me. She was also my “go to’ person when I had questions about things. She just was very wise. I really miss talking to her about things that are going on. I mean, I REALLY miss that.
There also were things she and I have talked about... things that I don’t think I’ll repeat here.
I’ve recorded her voice, but I couldn’t play most of the things we talked about here. I found ONE entry that I sent to Eric (her son) that wasn’t naughty.
One time we were on a trip to Portland and we were being naughty…
My phone recorded somehow on a friends answering service by mistake and suddenly the phone rang- it was that friend calling to say, do you realize you must have butt dialed...I was horrified...,its like they were listening in to a couple of ol bitty’s cackling like a couple of witches
I was a dance teacher for a while..I taught some of the dancing in her house with me...I will always treasure that she did that with me.
We went to a drum festival in Seattle. We danced around with the drummers. We did a lot of fun things together.
I would dress up as a fairy and go to a medieval festival, and she would always come with me, One time she even wore a black pair of wings with lacy gloves...she even got a cute pair of wings for her dog “Boop” to wear.
Every Christmas she would get me another angel to put in my house. Not because she liked that, but because she knew I did.
Every day I see something, whether I am at the store, where I see aloe vera plants. For some reason every time I see an aloe vera plant now I get teary eyed. (she gave me a start years back and said “every kitchen needs and Aloe Vera plant”)
From the Aloe vera plant now sitting in the kitchen windowsill (Its a big plant now) to a snake plant that I got on the day I helped her (along with her son and others) to pack up so she could go live with Eric her son (she asked me if I wanted anything and I didn’t, so she kept offering me stuff. I didn’t want anything but she said here, take the mask you and I got at the Halloween store putting it in my hand. I have its twin,we both bought one in different colors... and now they sit together on my fireplace mantel. (Now the book I have written called "Bart Befriends A Butterfly" features the two masks- the last picture of it is being done this week)
Even after she ended up at her sons I would visit at least once a month, and I started giving her haircuts. I really treasured those moments (and appreciated Ashley and Eric being there to let me in so I could see her.)
The last time I saw her I had a feeling it was the last time I would see her, but I didn’t want to believe it. I just gave her a little massage in between cutting her hair, and she kept dozing off. I just felt a lot of love towards her. I said goodbye to her and hugged her a few extra times, hoping I would see her again.
For those of you who know my OLD family history, which was very abusive, having someone like her there was soothing.
She and I were two very different kinds of people.
I was very what she would call “wooey” and she was very matter of fact.
I like butterflies and she liked cold hard facts.
How we became friends I’ll never know, but we were close and we would talk about anything.
When I first met her I was religious, and then after some years and some bad experiences I was just spiritual.
She and I spoke about a near death experience I had at 16 and she always said she found it interesting... My experience was of an incomprehensible love that I have never felt here. It was just the most amazing thing I have ever experienced. It was all love, not judgement.
We always had a silly bet (way before she was sick) I would tease her and say “ Ok, so when you die either “Poof” everything will go black, or if you see a light, come back and tell me”
(since she considered herself an atheist/agnostic.) she would always say "maybe I will, maybe I won't!" and smile.
I just didn’t think being a jerk about the whole heaven or not mattered as honestly, people will find out in the end anyway.)
It was always a joke between us, and then she got sick. It wasn’t a joke anymore to me, though of course I never told her that. But I think she understood it.
July 16th I had a dream about Pauline- how happy it was...it was very late at night, midnight or after...I turned to my husband in bed and told him about it , went back to sleep and then totally forgot about it…
Then that day when I went rollerblading there was a white butterfly that was periwinkle on the inside of its wings. It wouldn’t leave me alone when I sat down, It kept getting on my roller blades, on my back…on my hat, on my legs. it was so ethereal...just beautiful. I was laughing at how it just wouldn't’ leave me alone.
I actually asked a couple if the butterfly was on me before I got to my car to make sure that I didn’t move it out of its habitat. (It had jumped all over me that much, it almost felt like it was hiding sometimes but than it would pop up, like it was saying “haha!” or something, like now you see me, now you don’t kind of thing but it finally left and I went home.
I was in my house the same day and I turned around and felt like Pauline was there...so much so that I said “Pauline?” out loud even when I was also saying out loud, she can’t be gone yet… no one has said she is, so I just went about my day but wondered about it.
I got the text message on Thursday saying she had died on Monday, the day I saw the butterfly that wouldn't leave me alone. The night I had had that happy dream about her.
The day (Monday) Pauline and I had decided on that being the day she could talk on the phone before she was so sick.
We hadn’t talked for a while, I hadn’t heard from her when I called...she had been so sick that she was sleeping all the time and I couldn’t catch her awake.
I just couldn’t believe I wouldn’t see her alive again, even though I felt it.
That’s the first thing that came tumbling out of my mouth
“I can’t believe I’ll never see her again”
I just sobbed in my husbands arms.
My husband Joe said “Heidi- remember that dream you had Monday that was so happy about Pauline?" And then I remembered... I think it was her way of coming back and telling me... she was ok.
The week I saw that butterfly (the official butterflies name is “little blue” by the way... I looked it up) I dyed my hair blue because of that.. I can just hear Pauline saying “ug, why all the fuss... Why would you do that for me? I would say Pauline I’m memorializing my hair for you. And if she were here, we would laugh. (I know I’m just weird.)
I also am working on a kids book. I have put the butterfly on the cover of the book along with my main character. (They are friends :) ) And she is in at least 4 other books I am working on. If your church is ok with it I’ll give them to you in her name. (As of today the last picture for the book is going to be done this week.) Then off to publish!
She would probably just roll her eyes if she knew I did this.
I just miss her. It’s a little bit like seeing she and that butterfly,working on those books... and every day when I see my hair it reminds me of her.
Everybody looks at me and thinks that this is just Seahawks hair but its really for her. Pauline, its for YOU. It’s really for you.
And you know Pauline when you said “well all this otherworldly stuff could all be in your head?” (some of the things I told you in my life…OMG) You said “maybe your just crazy?”smiling Well maybe I’ll admit it’s true...but only to you, and only when we meet again.
Because I believe we will."
Pauline in the green hat: (me with the red blonde and black hair)