Fiorella was front and center at Sharon Kite's funeral on Saturday, but it's just now that she's able to report in without drowning her keyboard in tears and shorting out her computer.
The church was crowded. In fact, there were twice as many people in attendance than had been there a month ago when Baby was baptized, but that was only to be expected. Sharon, with her sunny personality and piquant sense of humor, was a people magnet. Laughter was her survivial technique, her way of dealing with the bad hands life deals us all.
Sharon and Fiorella were close for more than forty years, through Fio's triumphs and troubles and hers, but the last couple of years, they hadn't seen each other as often as before. Fio had moved thirty-some miles away, and Sharon, who had won her battle with ovarian cancer (probably by laughing it off), was more than ever involved with her extensive family--her brothers and sisters, her two children and their children--which meant their Dan's Hamburgers meet-ups became less and less frequent. Fio understood--after all, she had her own family responsibilities to attend to.
This last summer, Sharon told her the cancer was back, and when they finally did get together in late October, Daughter, who was Sharon's goddaughter, accompanied her. Sharon was bedbound, her daughter and two of her grandsons in attendance. Nothing for Fiorella to do but put on a smile and tell a lot of funny stories about their various escapades in the church choir, which set everyone to laughing.
Fiorella visited again in mid-November, then tried to visit in early December, but Sharon was not locatable, no many how many times Fiorella emailed her, called her phone number, texted her, or banged on her front door. Then, right after Christmas, when Fio was so sick, Pastor Gronberg called and told her Sharon had been moved to a hospice and was weakening. Fio planned to visit Sharon again as soon as she was able, but Sharon died the next day.
A week later, Fiorella, Husband, and Daughter attended Sharon's full-house funeral. Fio took six Kleenexes with her, but even hanging them across a stack of hymnals to dry in turn, they weren't enough.
Rest in peace, Sharon Kite.