Reminiscing helps heal the heart | Home Again

By Joanne Peterson | Jul 17, 2014

I’m in a reflective mood, brought on by the death of a friend of many years.

Cecil Thompson never lived in Edmonds. You probably didn’t know him. Whether or not you ever met him isn’t the point, though, because you have your own friends from the past to think about when I tell you about Cecil.

We all have lost somebody—or many somebodies, by now—who live on in our memories.

My words about Cecil will prompt you to think of someone dear who has died. That’s just how it works whenever one of us loses somebody and shares the story.

It’s good to share our losses--when we can bear to--both to help ourselves heal and to remind one another that we’d better tend to treasuring the people around us while we have them.

Cecil and Doris Thompson were the first friends I remember from my earliest married years.

The four of us taught in Wenatchee junior high schools. We sat together in the bright lights and autumn chill of high school football games, raised our kids in the same Lutheran church, ate countless spaghetti dinners at their house or ours, barbequed hamburgers on summer evenings and watched the kids playing together in the twilight.

We viewed fireworks from the Thompsons’ deck, went sledding down their hill in the winter, meandered through county fairs and attended local plays.

Early on, we spent an evening together watching TV reports of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

In the afternoon, each of us had faced the awful task of informing our students that their president was dead.

Through the years, the Thompsons were a constant in our lives. Always, there was Cecil: gardening, cooking, working at his daughters’ swim meets, cutting firewood, helping out at church, befriending his special education students and every year spending hours on Special Olympics.

He looked out for his mom and his sister Marj in Wenatchee as long as they lived.

Doris and Cecil’s youngest of three daughters arrived the same week as our daughter Lisa. Our girls became best friends.

Our family eventually bought a house around the corner from Thompsons. Cecil was a devoted husband and father who loved his family, treasured his friends, enjoyed strangers and had the biggest warmest heart anyone could ask for.

If people needed help, they could call Cecil; he’d jump in his truck and be on the way.

Cecil was a wholesome farm boy from a little town in Montana called Scobey; he had great stories of his youth, and I don’t think he ever missed a summer road trip home from Wenatchee as long as he had family in Scobey.

Cecil was sick for quite a while. I saw him not long ago at the memorial services for his sister Marj.

 

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