Thursday, February 17, 2011

Primary Sources in This Very Room

It has been hard for me to put into words. 

I know.  Val at a loss for words?  Doesn't happen often so relish it.

Yesterday I was reading in my boy's social studies book working 8th grade homework, and there was an interesting snippet about the power in a primary source.

A primary source is someone who has first-hand experience, knowledge or lived through the experience that is being discussed.  Primary sources are valuable for many things.  Witnesses in court cases, telling military experiences, sharing stories in church...etc... you get what I mean.

It struck me that I was a primary source for Tom Allison's life.  And death.

We had the Celebration of Tom Allison with some snacks party almost a week ago and I am just now able to sort of put it into perspective.  Give it voice.

Tom sporting his special party shirt

I am only one of 169 primary sources from the event so this is just my interpretation of the experience.
For those of you who haven't been reading along or figured it out, Tom is getting closer to passing away.  He is now in hospice.  He is no longer under treatment and to paraphrase him from a comment the other day, he is just killing time until he dies.

One thing we decided could be really cool before that happens is that we would have a celebration of his life.  Basically, to me, it was his living funeral.  As Dave said in church the other day, "We went to funeral on Friday.  The guest of honor was there.  And he was alive."  You don't get to too many funerals where the honoree is there....with the ability to mingle with the guests. In a non-creepy "Dawn of the Dead" way.  :)

showing buddies his Star Wars

His mother, the Crossroads Hospice ladies, and we worked for weeks to pull it together.  Think of a birthday party or wedding reception with no gifts, no cake, no bride (but R2D2) and for some, it may be the last time to see him alive. 

some snacks

You would think there would be an air of saddness.  But there wasn't.

You would think perhaps it would be morbid or hushed.  But it wasn't.

It was heavenly.  Majestic.  Fantastic.

getting the party started

There were snacks.  There was an IPOD full of his favorite 1980's music blaring.  There were guests...not attendees.  There were family, friends, more friends, and more friends.  As a matter of fact, 13 friends and family flew in from all over the country to by there.  There were Star Wars decorations everywhere.  There were the 2 Tomcassos (created by Cheryl years ago)(scrapbooks of his life) and a 3rd Tomcasso album from his mother, since he has lived so long.  :)  And there was Darth Vader.

Darth Vader?  Yep, Darth Vader even made it.

Star Wars Action figure posing

By a lucky amount of circumstance or perhaps a tender mercy from God as the LDS people would say, the Star Wars costumed troop that I had tried to contact months ago about showing up at his funeral actually know people from the hospice and so they arranged they to show on Friday.  One of my best kept secrets I must say....Tom had NO idea.  Neiher did most everyone else.

Dave wore his best yellow party shirt

It was fantastic!  Everyone laughted!  Everyone cheered!   People got their pictures. 
Tom and his girl, Jennifer the Koala Bear

I picked Darth Vader's nose AND got choked by almost every Star Wars movie.  It was classic! mom picking Darth's nose?

yeah chicks posing with their guns...

Val tattles to Darth Vader that Mr. Fun's gun is bigger
than hers

Darth has Val's back:  she gets two guns...

There was a program.  Joe, his best friend from high school, spoke and shared stories.  I spoke, his best friend from his Missouri years.  I have the outline I wrote, which I will post next I think.  I don't want to forget it.  It was hard to deliver.  Saying goodbye in many ways.  That is hard to do in front of 168 other folks. 

Joe and I later figured out that we share the same grief.  "One of our best friends is dying" grief.  That makes us a new sort of best friends by sad default.  The kind that swear they will call each other when they visit the other's state...

high school besties:  Joe, Tom, David

Then there was a power point of his life to the songs "Live like you are Dyin'" by Tim McGraw and "Fields of Gold" by Sting.  Then we had open mic.  Many loved ones spoke and shared their feelings of Tom's goodness, his example, and his service to his fellow men.  It was so amazing.  You and I should be so lucky to be loved like this.
California besties:  Mike, Nadine, Mike, Tom

Then Tom spoke.  He spoke about why he served...revealing that he had been told in the past by some who were influencial in his life that he wasn't worthy or good enough.  How he realized they were wrong.  He spoke about trying to do his best.  To be "that guy" anyone could call.

The party went on for a few hours and when it was over, people still lingered.  Laughing, hugging, loving.
It was like we were in another place.  For those who believe, the Spirit of God was there. 

I love this one:  brother Mike and Tom
(hello, Tom do you know anyone NOT named Mike?)

It was an honor to be a small part.
The night I went into labor with the Girl, I attended a baptism.  There was a song that was sung I have never forgotten.  It is called "In This Very Room", a little known LDS comtemporary church song:

In this very room there's quite enough love for one like me,

And in this very room there's quite enough joy for one like me,
And there's quite enough hope and quite enough power to chase away any gloom,
For Jesus, Lord Jesus ... is in this very room.

And in this very room there's quite enough love for all of us,
And in this very room there's quite enough joy for all of us,
And there's quite enough hope and quite enough power to chase away any gloom,
For Jesus, Lord Jesus ... is in this very room.

In this very room there's quite enough love for all the world,
And in this very room there's quite enough joy for all the world,
And there's quite enough hope and quite enough power to chase away any gloom,
For Jesus, Lord Jesus ... is in this very room.

Friday, this is all I kept thinking...In this very room, there is quite enough love, joy, power.

Sons on Ice:  Mike, Tom, parents Linda and Bob

Should we all be SO lucky, and frankly just plain darned blessed to live to see the fruits of love and joy in our lives.  Our service.  Our love.

Oh, and may the Force be with us.  :)  Always.