Saturday, December 10, 2011

I am a thief…

The light has come on again, for a while at least, and I am feeling better than I have for quite some time, well... I was until I opened my purse this morning to clean it out.

We went to St Louis on Thursday to have a bit of fun. We did some shopping for things that could only be had at St Louis. We actually had ourselves a Starbucks coffee, thanks to a gift card Richard had received.

We had White Castle Hamburgers in honor of our son’s memory. 

His favorite thing to do when he worked the graveyard shift at the ambulance was to get 10 of them at a time.
He loved going to Forest Park. We went there, to the St Louis Art Museum, and saw beautiful paintings...

 including a special exhibit of Monet’s Water Lilies. Why is walking through an art museum so exhausting?

But the main reason we went was to attend the annual memorial service hosted by the medical students at St Louis University School of Medicine for families and friends of those who donated their bodies to the medical school during 2011.

Perhaps it seems like a paradox that going to a memorial service would make me feel better and much less depressed, but that is exactly what happened.

Perhaps the moving experience I had at seeing the glorious the church with the beautiful stained glass windows…

  Photo by Szeke 

Perhaps it was feeling the bond with the probably 1,000 other people who were there – people who were friends or families of the 435 other individuals who had also donated their bodies – who had also come to honor the memories of their loved ones.

Perhaps the overwhelming welling up of emotion when the pianist and the violinist began playing Satie’s Gymnppedia No. 1, Lent et douloureaux

And the students began coming up the long aisle in pairs and laid flowers on the basket that contained the names of those who had donated their bodies… 

I don’t know, but it was beautiful and wonderful and moving.

I will never know which of those lovely young men and women who participated in the program might have studied the body of our son in their anatomy laboratory, but seeing them and hearing their words about how grateful they were for the donation and how it would help them be better physicians… well, it gave me great comfort.

Just before we left for the cathedral in which the service was held, we had lunch at a small Vietnamese restaurant. At every Asian restaurant where we have a meal and chopsticks are brought along with silverware to the table, they are almost always the cheap bamboo kind that are meant to be thrown away. I usually always take them because there are many useful things that can be done with chopsticks that have nothing to do with eating (or attempting to eat).

At any rate, at the end of the meal, I grabbed both sets and put them in my purse and thought nothing else about it until this morning. When I took them out, I noticed that these were not at all like the throw-away chop sticks we usually get. These looked very much like chop sticks the restaurant would have collected and washed along with the silverware and reused. 

I am almost sure I stole the chopsticks.

I didn’t do it on purpose. Honest.


Donna said...

I like the idea of a memorial service for those whose bodies were donated. That's an amazing concept.

Oklahoma Granny said...

My thought was exactly the same as Donna's.

Tami Weingartner said...

I think that for me there is something comforting about big cathedrals. Something about the silence of sitting. The beauty of the place with it's windows. Someone once said to me that the structure of the ceiling with the exposed plaster beams was like the bow of a ship. I've since referred to our local cathedral as the 'mother ship' a place of silence and safety amidst the storms of life...

Far Side of Fifty said...

What a beautiful service that must have been..I am so glad it made the darkness lift for you.
Donating your body to science is such a wonderful selfless gift. Only really special people think of all the Medical Students that will be helped.

Perhaps the next time you can take the borrowed chopsticks back:)

Have Myelin? said...

What a selfless gift.

We were not asked that question, only if Nicole was an organ donor. Of course she was, and we agreed.

I am glad they remember the families who give up so much. Beautiful, beautiful church.

I think the chopsticks were meant to come home with you. Next time you are there, offer to pay. =)