I went to Evelyn’s wake yesterday, accompanied by Jim Casey. We arrived at Ross Funeral home early, before the family. When I entered the first parlor, I immediately saw this beautiful arrangement of flowers and walked over to look at them, then at the card. I was so proud and overwhelmed when I read the card, which said: “Deepest Sympathy on the loss of Evelyn who the City of Gloucester was blessed to know” from Mayor Carolyn Kirk, Police Chief Leonard Campanello, Fire Chief Eric Smith and USCG Station Gloucester. The family was so moved by this gesture from the City of Gloucester, as was I, knowing that very special lady, Carolyn, was behind it. This is such an amazing place in so many ways, the reason Evelyn so loved living here.
I put together a couple of photo collages to display at the wake and wanted to share them. The first one was made so that her family and friends who had never been to Gloucester (many lived in the Wrentham/Norfolk area and RI) could see and understand Evelyn’s great love and passion for the place. The second one is of some of the abundant life Evelyn experienced and shared here. Special thanks to Kim Smith for the beautiful photo of Evelyn that I used for the central image on both collages.
In my 58 years, I have been very fortunate to have not lost any close friends or family members (except grandparents when I was young), until now. This morning I went to put out recycling and trash. When I pulled out the recycling bin, I saw the two empty champagne bottles Evelyn had brought to Sunday’s Mug Up along with pomegranate juice to make mimosas to go with her amazing lemon/lime cheesecake topped with homemade whipped cream. I looked at the name of the champagne and totally lost it. Its name was “Barefoot Bubbly”. That was Evelyn. Barefoot as could be whenever she could be, and as bubbly as champagne. Evelyn, you will be so sorely missed by many, but I know your beautiful spirit of light and love will shine on forever, and I am so happy to have known you.
During the past week I have spoken with many people who had only met Evelyn once or on a couple of occasions, but all were feeling the same sense of loss of a very special person. That is because when you met Evelyn, her spirit went out before her, and that was what you encountered first – the “person” came next. So whether you’d known her all your life, or for just a brief time, everyone had the same pure and beautiful experience of encountering her perfect self. We should all live as Evelyn did.
I know Evelyn’s death will have a profound effect on many people, so great that no one will ever know the full extent of it. For me, her passing has already given me a great gift. My dear friend Wendie Demuth and I had a falling out at the end of last season and hadn’t spoken since. Last week Evelyn and I were talking about Wendie, and Evelyn told me that one day we would reconnect, make up, hug and again be best friends. That very thing happened last evening at Evelyn’s wake – and I know she was there, her big beautiful spirit cheering over what she had accomplished.
At the family’s request, Donations in Evelyn’s name can be made to The Cultural Center at Rocky Neck, 6 Wonson Street, Gloucester, MA, a place Evelyn loved and was very involved as a volunteer.