I’m still thinking about Babu’s birthday party and about meeting Zosh’s daughter, Kathy. More importantly, about the interactions Kathy had with the family, especially Babu.
When you hear stories, especially ones you hear more than once, there is this mistaken sense of ownership. You feel the person who told you the story and you now own it. It was private time hearing something special about one person’s life.
But almost always, that story does not just belong to those people.
When I walked into the party, before I even got a chance to introduce myself, I was hearing Kathy talk about the last time Babu saw Zosh, only four days before Zosh passed away. Adam had just told me the story 20 minuets earlier. He was the one who took the call from Kathy and took Babu over to see Zosh. Babu had told me this story many times also. How silly to have had the feeling that that story belong to our family?
But as Kathy told the story, she was talking about her mother in her final days. Adam was seeing his grandmother and her best friend. It gave me a sense of vertigo, of quickly being upended and changing positions, and now hearing this story from another point of view. The important parts were the same. How full of life Zosh was. Offering “this gentleman” a gin and tonic, having wine with Babu, hair done up, jewelry on. The other important part was how very close the friendship still was and always had been. Kathy told me how they held each other arms, giggled into their hands, chatted on and on and looked through many, many pictures. How Zosh wanted to help Babu to the car when she left because Babu was walking with a cane and Babu called her toots, and said “If I don’t see you again down here, I’ll be seeing you up there.”
Kathy told that story with such love, as she showed when she went through pictures she brought with her of Babu and Zosh and other family and friends. She would mention names like Natalie as she pointed to pictures with Babu and I would think, Nat?!?! I know Nat! Of course, I never got the chance to actually meet her.
I posted this video in a post a few days ago, but I want you this time to listen very closely to Kathy, the one of the right. She says a name as she points to a picture.
Did you catch that? She said: “That’s Johnny Lech!” It feels to me like these are famous people that I also kind of know. How odd it must have been for Kathy to see my face light up with recognition at these names.
This was such a lovely birthday for Babu and one I’ll remember for years to come.