His wife did a fantastic job of having old photos scattered about. And the memory book in which each person wrote of their remembrances of my cousin was touching.
But the reading of a letter to all of us by his wife was the most profound. She read about what their life had been like and that he wanted us to know that he was not an invalid nor was he in·val·id in any way during his illness. And his words: "And so--I was not and am not an invalid. No one has to be. Invalid is an illusion. If you ever find yourself labelled as such, try to invalidate the judgment and seize the opportunity to discover your personal light to help heal every particle and cell on this planet. Start with granting yourself Forgiveness, Peace, and Unconditional Love: these qualities lead to physical and spiritual healing."
So I am glad that I went. I am glad that I shared laughter in memories of him. I feel as if the afternoon was filled with goodness--good people, good times, good food, good memories.
I will keep remembering his words that I am not in·val·id. I will call that up when I feel small and cast aside in some ways. No I am not in·val·id.
I depart as air, I shake my white locks at the runaway sun,
I effuse my flesh in eddies, and drift it in lacy jags.
I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love,
If you want me again look for me under your boot-soles.
You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
And filter and fibre your blood.
Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop somewhere waiting for you. ~Walt Whitman