It was a sad Summer for Bill and his family, his cancer had come back and would not be extinguished, but through Facebook, many of Bill's former drum corps "brats" shared photos and stories with him, his family, and each other. He was the manager of our Sancians drum corps for 20 years - I was participating for 12 of those years and his influence on my life was surely greater than that of any other adult in my young life. From age 12 through almost 22, I was around Bill, guided by his quiet leadership. The man rarely slept, with upwards of 100 adolescents in marching uniforms on buses, traveling hither and yon from Boston as far as Chicago, Alabama and Colorado. He trusted us to make good choices (with supervision, of course), and when our choices went awry, had only to peer at any of us over his reading glasses as admonishment.
Bill was 81 years old when he died on Friday, had been married to the same wonderful woman for 58 years, has three grown children and seven or eight grandkids, in addition to the hundreds of drum corps "kids" he mentored, cajoled, and joked with for those 20 years. At last evening's wake/reunion, his family expressed their gratitude and astonishment at the outpouring of love for Bill - it was a feeling of community and celebration of his life, rather than sadness, that permeated the room.
Tonight will be a different situation. My dear friend's five-week-old grandson died of leukemia over the weekend after being sick for just a couple of days. We all remain shocked - this sweet little soul barely had time to settle here on earth before he was taken. It seems so random. He was, though, a gift to his young mom and dad, to his grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends, who loved him no less because of the brevity of his life.
Both of these beloved souls have touched me, each in his own way. What tangibles remain, at least for me, will remain on Facebook, and will continue to evoke, sadness, joy, appreciation and a feeling of gratitude for having known them.
AnaLewis wrote 567 Days Ago (neutral)0Wow, Elaine. What a touching eulogy for two beautiful souls. Thank you for writing this. This piece is a gift within itself, too. xxxooo0 points