Today at work, there was a memorial service for all the residents who recently passed away. It was organized by the sister of Bobbie, one of the diseased, and a good chunk of the service focused on Bobbie.
Bobbie passed away suddenly and very much unexpectedly. One day she was walking around and the next day she came up on the census as an 'expiration in-house'. Her sister brought a few of Bobbie's childhood pictures -both of them together, Bobbie happily munching something sitting in a high-chair, Bobbie in her father's arms, Bobbie proudly standing next to her mother. The sister told a few anecdotes about Bobbie and then asked others to speak.
Some staff and relatives of other residents spoke. There were a few times when I wanted to say a few words but in the end I stopped myself. What would I say? That Bobbie had an incredible memory and remembered me and my name after not seeing me for 2 years? That Bobbie wanted to be popular and pretty so she frequently said 'I hate you because you hate me!' and wore bright lipstick smudged in the general location of her lips? Or that Bobbie very much wanted to have a baby and/or be skinny (she was) at the same time and would often inform people that she was pregnant or on a diet? Or that Bobbie missed her sister (apparently estranged) and wanted to leave the nursing home saying almost every day "I'm leaving today. My sister is coming to pick me up!" Or that I found this memorial service to be a too-little-too-late-compensation of Bobbie's sister for a relationship that went sour for whatever reason. But all that would be just me passing judgement , not me giving tribute to Bobbie - unnecessary and somewhat out of place.
Instead, I listened to Bobbie's neighbors' memories of her...
One said succinctly: " I remember Bobbie. She wanted to marry me." It was his wishful thinking but a memory of Bobbie he firmly made up in his head.
A female resident said that she remembered that Bobbie used to have a very pretty bracelet.
And a resident who was really close to Bobbie came up and started telling a bizarre monologue in a flat sing-song:
This is how the story goes... Bobbie and I met in school when I was 4 and she was 3...We became great friends...And I miss her very much...
And he just walked away. But his strange sing-song was a true tribute to Bobbie and the last 3 speeches expressed how most of us felt - we missed Bobbie.