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Here's to you, Lance.

Here's to you, Lance.

Originally published 9-3-11

A few days ago I was fortunate enough to be a part of and witness an event so love full of love that I am not sure I can do it justice, but I’m going to try.

I’ve been around hospitals, ICU, death, and funerals a decent amount for being 28, but until this past Tuesday I had never experienced 200 people, none of whom were related, treat other with such gentle regard, sing for each other, love each other so much, just like a family and maybe even more so.

Exactly one week ago an awesome, 42 year old soul named Lance passed away.

Shockingly it was 8 days between the time of his admittance to the hospital and his passing.  His passing was overwhelmingly tragic, amazingly quick, and it affected many people near and far in a deeply significant way.

Those closest to him wanted to give Lance a proper send off and since Lance was Hawaiian, a great Hawaiian Luau was the only way to go.

In the 48 hours after his passing, his closest friends organized a Hawaiian Luau/Memorial service that Lance would have been proud of. Lance was a rock star in the service industry and so were some of his friends, so it was no wonder that there was a pouring in of food, beverages, etc.  From the food to flowers, everything was perfect.

Two things struck me.

The first was: the guests, including myself, at the Luau were primarily service industry. And since we are service industry folks by definition we serve people. We work when everyone else is celebrating: Valentine’s Day, Christmas, weddings, and even birthdays. It’s not often that 200 service industry folks carve out time for an “occasion.” But that night, we all did.

That night 200 people made up of men, women and children of all ages and ethnicities carved out time to show Lance and Lance’s family that they cared for him and loved him so very much, but also to hold onto each other and lift each other up.  No one there was biological family, in some ways we had bonded so intimately: working with each other 12 hours a day, working together in small confined spaces for years up on years, joking until the wee hours of the morning, celebrating and now mourning, we were closer.

The second thing that struck me was that the love in that space was palpable.  I was so proud to know the people there and so fortunate to have experienced even for a few brief hours, under the saddest ofcircumstances, that when people love each other, they can lift each other up, out of sorrow, out of grief and into the next moment of joy.

 Here’s to you LT, and may your spirit continue to bless people. 

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