I always meant to change that nickname I so quickly gave you to "Glenda" - for the "good witch" but I never got around to righting that incorrect nickname naming. With that said - I guess we never got around to doing a lot of the things we probably both dreamed of sharing. We did however get to do some things... things that were very special to me.
We knew each other only for a couple years, but in that time I knew that I had a kindred spirit, outside of your daughter and inside of your family. You were a beacon of honesty, confidence, and intelligence in a sea of so many that you would have probably loved and been able to know - where as I would have shunned. And that's what I learned the most from you... that's what you gave me in our short time together. You made me patient, loving, and thoughtful (odd to hear those adjectives I'm sure... but I think we both knew that I may be ever more impetuous and odd than you). I know some people may not attach those adjectives to you - but I do... I always found you very heartfelt and sincere. I wanted to take those small pieces of you with me after every time we met.
Oddly and unfairly - I don't know if this "letter" does you justice. I feel like I should try to write your biography by interviewing all those people you touched so specially. I feel like there should be a jar outside of Mom Marie's to house your memories carried in the mind of others. I feel like your family, infinitely closer and infinitely wiser to your ways would be better suited by not having me take a clumsy and dim lit stab at your meaning to me. But then I remembered... this is what you mean to me... and to me - I will always miss what could have been. Because our past although not deep certainly echoed what was promising.
There are a few very vivid memories of you that I'll keep to myself. Because I feel like they would last longer that way. I feel like they are my personal presents from you - presents that you gave in so much abundance to so many - but these are mine. And so precious they are because we can't make any more.
Do I have regrets? Some... I really believed you when you explained to me repeatedly that you would be here for another decade. I bought into the idea of you beating cancer, turning handsprings, and sitting on a beach reading and watching your grand children play. I regret that I believed you and chose to live our last months together in mutual denial... but I know it wasn't denial to you --- you were just being strong. You were just being the only thing you knew how to be... indirectly amazing.
Some people misconstrue the meaning of amazing into some small definition used by teeny boppers - but I choose to hold it to define your spirit. It's one that I have never seen before and one that I will likely not run into again. It was truly amazing. And it moves me to tears even as I write this. It moves me to want to be the best man I could ever imagine being to your daughter and your family. Your amazing spirit made me a better person. I think that's something you can take pride in as we all move forward in this life - you can be assured that the memory of you will motivate me to improve the future memory of me.
With that idea - your legacy will live on through me. With your amazing spirit and life - you can rest assured that someone you knew although very lovingly but still briefly - will carry your spirit with me. I can only imagine how lucky the people are that knew you during much brighter days and over much longer spells.
This is not the last I'll write of you and to you - not by far. So instead of saying goodbye - I'll just say "Until next time Gladys..."
P.S. - your sister Mary had this play at your funeral... I cried. I cried a lot the last week... I cried while I'm listening to it now. Just thought you might want to know...