Monday, June 27, 2016

REMEMBERING BUTTER



Since I moved around a lot through my life I never got to see how people turned out.  Sometimes I will think of an old friend and will search Google to find a trace. Sadly at my age, what I usually find is an obituary.

Even if I didn't know them that well, sadness will wash over me and I will feel badly for the loss of that person.  My heart goes out to their family along with regret for the time we spent apart--- lost years. The ache may be brief or it may be prolonged depending on how close we were.

That had always been the case till I recently stumbled upon John's obituary. I was a bit shocked at my reaction at reading his obit. I couldn't stop smiling and feeling a warm happiness. There was no empty hole, just fullness.

John, also known as "Butter," was a dear friend from about 30 years ago. He was part of a law firm that had offices over our bank. His law partner was our bank president so John was usually at all our gatherings, a part of our work family. He was witty, kind and caring. He was occasionally a freebie lawyer for me or my family. Not a small favor.

He and I had an attraction that we thought about and sometimes talked about but never acted upon. He was married, something we both respected.  Still the attraction was strong and harmless flirting was enjoyed by the both of us. We had a ten year history as caring friends with a special bond.

Often our employee gatherings migrated to local night clubs after work for a few drinks. John was well known by most of the house bands and they would always ask him to sit in and sing a few songs.  He had a marvelous voice and could have made a decent living had he chosen entertainment. His nickname was Butter for his voice was just that smooth with perfect pitch.

Reading his obituary, I was a bit concerned and feeling rather guilty that I felt no sadness learning of his death. This had never happened before. This was not a casual friend, he meant a lot to me. So why??

Finally I realized there was no sadness for all my memories of him were happy ones. His life had been good and long. He was much loved and loved freely in return. His life had been used wisely and there was no need for sadness. We had no words left unsaid.

As I read the many memorials I realized I was not the only one to feel this way. My feelings were not unique but the norm.  I am sure those in his family felt the deep pain of his loss but those of us just on the edge apparently did not.

Then I thought, what a great legacy.  To part this earth without feelings of pain and emptiness felt by those left behind but instead leaving smiles, wonderful memories and gratitude for having been a part of that person's life. Wow.

Have you had someone like that in your life? Would you want those to be the memories you leave behind to your friends?

46 comments :

  1. Great post.
    There have been a couple of friends that I felt this way about when learning of their passing.
    I hope the same is true for me when the time comes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Brig,
      Thank you. I know, I feel the same way.

      Delete
  2. Absolutely. That was a wonderful story of Butter. Oh that more people left us full of good memories at their passing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Linda,
      Thank you, he was a cool guy. It sure would be nice if those who left us could bring smiles instead of tears. I wish it were more common.

      Delete
  3. Great post.

    I guess I rather not think about it. I cry at funerals of people I never met.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. joeh,
      Don't feel badly, I cry when fictional characters die. It was just so wonderful when with Butter, I didn't.

      Delete
  4. What a wonderful thought, to be the "butter" in someone's life. I hope that when I'm gone, that is how I will be remembered.

    I have a couple of close friends that would fit this bill, should they pass. No regrets, a wonderful friendship, and a joy at being a part of their life.

    I think that your observation about family is spot on. The loss is much greater, and likely there will always be some regrets. Great post; gave me something to think about.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Carole,
      I think the key is the no regrets and nothing left unsaid. And yes, with family the loss is always so much greater and because of the long history, too often regrets.

      Delete
  5. Butter sounds like a great guy and he left a good legacy, not of sorrow but of happiness.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Terra,
      Thank you and yes he was. The legacy he left was not common but perhaps should be.

      Delete
  6. Such an interesting thing to ponder, Patti. Thank you so much for asking the question. I will think about this for a long time. I hope that when my obituary hits the papers, someone will smile and remember the good things. Ah, a life well lived. What a thing to ponder.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. robin,
      Wouldn't that just be so special? I know it was with Butter. Kind of gives us something to shoot for.

      Delete
  7. The first thing to come to my mind is the old Mike Meyers skit on Saturday Night Live where the Jewish ladies did "Coffee Talk." They always used the phrase "like buttah" to mean divine, wonderful, etc. So it's appropriate that your friend was called Butter. Yes, I would love to leave people with happy memories like Butter did.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Carolyn,
      I do remember that and "like buttah" is a really plus compliment. His voice and effect on people was truly like buttah.

      Delete
  8. 'Butter," what a fun name.
    What great thoughts are now filling your mind.
    Wouldn't it be a gracious act if we were able to
    have those thoughts about every friend or acquaintance
    who passes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Belva,
      Oh that we all lived in such a way to leave such wonderful thoughts. What a cool world we would have.

      Delete
  9. Wonderful tribute to a life well lived.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Olga,
      Thanks, he really did live a splendid life.

      Delete
  10. Love this post, Patti.... Your "Butter" gave you such wonderful memories --like he obviously did to most everyone he knew...

    My "Butter" in my life was my boss who was also married. I was single at the time and we were attracted to each other --but thank goodness, never acted on it... He was my best friend--and died a year or two ago... I miss him --but have great memories.

    Hugs,
    Betsy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Betsy,
      We have very similar fellows in our lives that left us with just wonderful memories. I am so happy you had one too.

      Delete
  11. Since the beginning of November I have lost my sister and my oncologist. I have been grieving hard for both of them. My sister was only a year older than I am. The world seems a strange place without her in it. Likewise the world seems strange without the doctor that guided me through the valley of the shadow of death. I never considered that I would outlive him. I wish that I could be at peace with their departures, but I just am not.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lisa,
      Losing a family member is always heartbreaking. It takes a long time before the tears can be replaced with smiles as we eventually learn to relive the good memories. The loss of them from our lives will always be there, just a little less in time. You have lost two pillars in your life, that has to be overwhelming. I am so very sorry.

      Delete
  12. Butter sounds like a wonderful person. I'm sorry I didn't have an opportunity to know him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stephen,
      I really think you would have liked eachother. He appreciated art and had a nice collection.

      Delete
  13. I don't think I have ever had a relationship like yours with Butter. But, yes, to depart this earth leaving no regrets and only good memories would be a very good thing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Linda R,
      This is my first experience with these feelings but I can see where it might be a great goal.

      Delete
  14. What a wonderful way to to leave this world, leaving those who loved you with happy memories and no regrets. I think it is easier to feel less pain at losing someone who has lived a long full life. You were definitely blessed to have such a good friend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Eileen,
      It totally removed the painful feelings of loss. I am sure it would not work for a family member. That pain is inescapable.

      Delete
  15. It would be a honor to be remembered so well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gail,
      I hope I leave some smiles behind when I go.

      Delete
  16. I had such a friend!! I wrote about him here. http://fishducky.blogspot.com/2015/11/hey-man-we-can-work-this-all-out.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fran,
      I just read your post about Larry. What a cool guy and a great addition to your family. We were both lucky.

      Delete
  17. I have never felt happiness first when I hear of a death but I often feel it soon after as I recall the joy certain ones gave to me and to others. Often laughter abounds in my heart as I recall the antics they pulled or the crazy things we did together. Probably the biggest reason I liked them in the first place was because they made me laugh.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Annie,
      This was a first for me and was so startling when it happened that it required a post.

      Delete
  18. It sounds like he was well loved by everyone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Terri,
      He got back what he gave. I feel so lucky to have been in his group.

      Delete
  19. I can't say I always cry when I hear about someone who I was close to that has died, but it's rare for me to feel happy about it, even if the memories are good. But I hear what you are saying. Maybe some friendships only bring smiles, and it sounds like you had that kind of one with Butter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Joey,
      This had never happened to me before and had me feeling both guilty and confused but I think I now understand. He was such a special man. We had no regrets, no words left unsaid.

      Delete
  20. A good story about a man who left behind positive memories. My husband's best friend (and a good friend to me, too) died about 3 years ago. Not a day goes by that we don't speak of him with smiles - sharing a memory or something he told us. In the winter, we ski by the place where some of his ashes are strewn and say "hi" - now our Grandchildren know to do that, too. To leave such a legacy of fond memories and caring are a real tribute. I hope that those who love me feel the same when I'm gone and share some stories and smiles about me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Barb,
      You and your husband keep him alive daily--that is the best form of memory. I think it is so cool that you have passed the tradition on to the grands. We can all only hope to leave such a legacy.

      Delete
  21. I really enjoyed this post sweet Patti...well really I enjoy all of your posts, but this one brought me smiles. There have been a few in my life that I was not sad at their passing and have many wonderful memories that I cherish. Your "Butter" would have been someone I would love to have met. Hugs and give Callie and Minnie nose kisses for us.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maggie,
      I am so glad you have also felt this way. At first I was alarmed at my lack of tears, now I know I was just very lucky to have had him in my life.

      Delete
  22. Yes, I've had a similar circumstance and the upshot when he died was not sadness but a feeling of contentment that he was finally out of pain. There are worse things than dying.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ginnie,
      I know what you mean. When someone is in pain and misery, yes it is relief and a blessing when they pass.

      Delete
  23. What a lovely and thoughtful post.

    ReplyDelete