One of my graduates posted on Face Book that his father had undergone surgery hundreds of miles away and was having a very difficult recovery. I watched for my friend’s Facebook posts and messaged encouraging words of support for several weeks. Finally, his father, Papa Frank, was able to return to his hometown and we rejoiced! However, his recovery was short lived. Shortly another post announced that Papa Frank had passed away.
I attended the funeral Mass which was held in our hometown’s biggest cathedral. Upon entering, I was comforted by the peace of the church and the beautiful but profound aroma of abundant Easter flowers. It was a small gathering of family and friends. From the homily and from the stories from the grandchildren, I felt that I knew Papa Frank, but alas I had never met the man! These stories were outpourings of bittersweet experiences of a very robust life of an Italian immigrant. How strong were these bonds formed by taking the time to create prime connections through story telling! The grandchildren had never ventured to Italy, but through Papa Frank’s mentoring, cooking and storytelling, these youngsters inherited quite a legacy!
As the Mass ended, I was approached by another attendee. This person and I had a tumultuous relationship that ended badly. We chatted briefly offering and accepting each others’ heartfelt apology. Indeed, it had been 7 years since I had seen this person, but I had thought about this person and the situation many times over the years. What an amazing day! I went to connect with a friend in grief and I left without the grief of a relationship that went wrong. Connecting during an emotional time which seemed rather inopportune, created an opportunity for one prime connection to heal another!