We'll Miss You Lucky
Today a dear friend of the family is being put to rest after a very long, very difficult, very cruel bout with MS and other conditions. He's actually a friend of Hubby's family - I got him when I got married. Lucky and his wife are my in-laws' "bestest" friends and they immediately adopted me. I've considered them family ever since.
How to describe Lucky?
Let's start with Lucky - the man of music. He was a school music teacher for many years, directed children's musicals, was a talented organist, piano player, accordionist, etc. As a child he even performed on the Ted Mack Amateur Hour! He had a beautiful singing voice and was a great choir conductor. He was very generous with these talents - be it in his church where he held several organist/choir director/choir participant positions in various churches - sometimes even those of a different faith than his, in community activites with kids, etc. In fact since my in-laws are the organist and choir director at the church where we got married, they obviously needed stand-ins the day of our wedding - so my uncle took over organist duties for my MIL and Lucky directed the choir in my FIL's stead.
Then there's Lucky the collector. His obit mentions that he collected coins and trains, but there was so much more. Before they moved from their old home to an adult community, Lucky and Trudi's house was a treasure trove of cool stuff! Everywhere you looked there was something interesting, be it a picture, or a knick-knack. I would love asking Lucky about something I saw because you could tell he loved telling the story that accompanied the object. And for your entertainment while you were in their guest bathroom, they even had a Merlin that still worked!
Next, Lucky the man who loved to laugh and make people laugh. I have never been a laugh-out-loud person, I mean I laugh a lot but usually chuckle or whatever, but with Lucky there were times when I would laugh so hard I would cry. They and my in-laws started playing a game they call The Dictionary Game which is very similar to today's Balderdash - only they've been playing it for over 30 years - where one player looks up a word in the dictionary and everyone has to write a definition for it while the looker-upper copies the actual definition, then everyone has to guess which is the correct definition. Well, I imagine that 30+ years ago they started out with good intentions and they actually kept score, etc. But as the years went by it morphed into who can write the weirdest or funniest definitions so everyone else will crack up and nobody even bothers to keep score anymore. A classic example of typical game play: the word is motmot - one of the definitions given (I think by Lucky) was something like "a traditional instrument played on backwards day at the Indian reservation". OK, maybe you have to be there, but this is pee-in-your-pants funny stuff - and mind you this happens with everyone being stone-cold sober. It didn't matter if Lucky was writing a definition, performing a dramatic interpretation of others people's definitions or just laughing that giggle/chortle laugh of his - it was physically impossible to not crack up.
His disease was long and difficult with many complications and truly debilitating conditions - but Lucky kept going and most of the time he did it with his humor at full throttle. Even when everyone knew he was in pain or uncomfortable or exhausted, you always got the big Lucky twinkly-eyed ear to ear smile.
And finally there's Lucky the family man. Lucky was blessed to have Trudi, an amazing woman, as his wife. When I grow up I want to be just like her. When they were together, even through the bad times during his illness, you just knew Lucky adored Trudi. I saw them as the mythical perfect couple who finished each other's sentences, knew what the other was thinking and who seemed to thoroughly enjoy each other's company. I'm sure there were difficult times as there are in any marriage, but their love was - and will always be - solid. As Lucky's condition deteriorated Trudi was steadfast in her commitment and devotion to taking care of him. But even throughout the illness, when he was able, they shared fantastic vacations - a riverboat cruise along the Mississippi, trips to Europe, all kinds of cool stuff.
And he had his daughter Heidi. Like Heidi, I was blessed to be the only daughter of an extraordinarily loving and supportive father. Lucky would have done anything for Heidi, she was the proverbial apple of his eye. I know exactly what she's going through now and my heart aches for her. When you have that kind of relationship with your father and then he's gone, regardless of all the love and support you still have, it's like your center suddenly shifts and everything is askew. That feeling will pass, but I know Heidi will miss Lucky every day and I also know he'll always be with her.
There's some wonderful music being played in heaven - maybe on an accordion, or a piano or an organ, it doesn't really matter. What matters is the spirit of the musician - a spirit full of love, laughter, strength and faith. Heaven is indeed "lucky" to have Lucky now, just as we were all lucky to have him as long as we did.
I love you Lucky, and I miss that I won't see you over the holidays this year. Thank you for being my friend.