The Reunion I Attended and the One I’d Give Anything to Have!

Yesterday, October 15, 2016, I attended the 40th reunion of the graduating class of 1976 of Immaculate Conception Academy (ICA). ICA was a small all-girls Catholic high school on the corner of 24th and K Streets N.W in Washington DC. One of the coolest things about going to school there, was that the bus I took to get there went past the White House every day. Each year the ICA Alumnae association hosts a luncheon in the Washington DC area and all graduating classes are invited and encouraged to attend. I’ve always known the reunion lunches existed, but I never joined the ICA Facebook page to keep up with information until this year. I figured the 40th anniversary of my high school graduation was as good a time as any to join! Tim thought it was a cool idea and he had planned to attend with me.


Of the 53 young women in our graduating class, more than 20 attended the luncheon. We were by far the largest class with three tables of amazing women. The oldest attendee present at the event was from the class of 1943! Wow!! The class of 1966 also had a full table for their 50th reunion. There were more than 300 graduates in attendance and I was really blown away by the size of the event. I hadn’t seen any of the women in attendance yesterday since graduation day forty years ago, YET they all embraced me as if we’d seen each just yesterday. The two women I was closest with in high school weren’t in attendance at the luncheon.

The meal that was served was excellent, and the many door prizes and the silent auction items made for a really fun and exciting afternoon. I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation and re-connections that reunions are supposed to bring. I laughed, and yes at one point I cried when my classmates presented me with a sympathy card on my loss of Tim and a beautiful plant in an angel vase. We all did a group hug which was comforting and uplifting for me. It probably goes without saying that I am thrilled that I attended, though I almost didn’t.

When Tim died, a friend from church who lost his wife more than a year ago told me that I would have moments when the smallest thing would cause me to burst into tears. That exact scenario played out for me on Friday night. I was watching one of my favorite shows when one of the male stars of the show told his “wife”that he loved her. I went from typing on my laptop to a mess of tears in almost an instant. While I’ve known this is true since Tim’s death, it struck me at that moment that I’m never going to hear Tim say ever again that he loves me. I cried and cried. I want to hear Tim tell me that he loves me Just… One… More… Time…. but it will never be. I instantly went into a funk and “decided” that I wasn’t going to go to the reunion on Saturday morning. I was going to stay home and sulk because I can’t have what I want. But I could hear Tim’s voice saying….”you’re going to the reunion!!!” For my sister-friend who was there Friday night as I was inconsolable, Thank You. I went to sleep thinking of the prayer you gave me and knew I’d be going to the reunion as I (and Tim) had intended.

I also realized this week that I had a “reunion of sorts” with a person I’d never actually met prior to the USAgainst Alzheimer’s Summit in DC a few weeks ago. I received a photo a few days ago taken by a Summit photographer of me with Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker. In the photo we are showing support to each other along our journey with dementia (his wife has early onset Alzheimer’s) and he was extending his sympathies on my loss of Tim, who of course had been so instrumental in helping me with Mom. Though my back is turned, our “reunion” in that photo speaks volumes about the fact that we are bonded together through a horrific disease and though our individual journeys are different our struggles are very similar! The compassion he showed to me in our few minute conversation will forever stay with me.


This has been quite the emotional week and I’m glad it’s coming to an end. I had a ball at the reunion with women I hadn’t seen in forty years, received a photo of a reunion and bonding with a person I’d never met and had an emotional meltdown for a reunion I long for, but will never have again. But here’s what I’m sure of at this moment. Tim loved me with all of his heart, and he knew that I loved him the same, and as of right now I can still hear his voice in my head. So here’s what I would encourage all of my friends and family to do. The next time you tell your soul mate that you love them, say it as if it will be the last time you’ll ever say it to them, because you never know when it actually will be. I love you Tim, and I know you can hear me!



4 thoughts on “The Reunion I Attended and the One I’d Give Anything to Have!

  1. Loretta, as I read your post, rejoicing and weeping along with your recount of your week, the first thought that came to mind when you mentioned never hearing Tim say, “I love again” (truly, a most sorrowful reality), was that his voice resounds in your mind and memory. Later, you write of that very experience. Upon reading that I exhaled, relieved that you know of his love via your every thought of him, verily, with every breath you take. Yours and his was…IS a mighty, enduring love!

  2. Thanks Paul, I so appreciate your words and the fact that you still refer to our love in the present tense. I think all of us who loved him can still hear Tim’s voice! I didn’t even mention that I got our new roof this week and that was more traumatic and quite a bit over my budget than I had intended (after learning the wood underneath was worse than we had hoped)….so I cried more over that but eventually got myself together. Next week certainly will be less emotional than this one. At least that’s my hope! One day at a time!

    • Yes, Loretta, one — breath, thought, feeling, tear, laugh, etc. — day at a time.

      As I think about the roof, I cannot imagine how difficult it is for you to face and deal with daily concerns that, for the past 31 years, you and Tim have engaged together. In the light and shadow of your days, I pray you find it a blessing (though doubtless, at times, a painful blessing) that you feel so deeply. For that, I think, is an incarnate sign that you are alive to your experience and not isolated and disengaged from your very self (which, for some, perhaps for many, maybe for all of us, at times, can be a defense against anguish).

      So, my beloved sister, continue to breath, think, feel, cry, laugh one day at a time.

      Much love

  3. YEP, I feel any and every thing each day Paul!! Thank God I’m not disengaged and yes I do believe this all is part of my journey and I do want to feel it…I’m definitely alive. I’m happy that I feel the difficult stuff as much as I feel the great stuff. Thank you for the love.

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