After being outwardly emotional at the balloon release, I made myself promise not to get too emotional when it came time for his official service. Not surprisingly, my dear friend was cremated. While a huge part of me would love a grave to visit (and lay down on, honestly), Pete as Pete would prefer cremation. He was a star. Why hold him here?
None of my friends were able to come. The service was at my intern site as well. A guy who has been amazingly supportive offered to come (more on him for a completely different post), but I felt that if it wasn't a person that knew of me and Pete well, (such as my fellow interns) it would just be odd. So I trucked it solo. Had the perfect dress picked out, but this damned Atlanta weather called for stockings as well. Too damned chilly to just wear a dress, plus the service was outside. I also wore a strapless bra, which has been squeezing the shit out of my boobs since I put it on this morning. Black dress, black stockings, black shoes, black sweater, black nails. I was ready.
I saw his sister and recognized her immediately from her Facebook pictures. I walked up to her and introduced myself. She thanked me for the words I offered during the balloon release. Essentially, my initial words were "Pete was weird. And I'm weird. So we immediately got together and weirded together. There was no incubation period for our weirdness, we just went full throttle early on." I'll be honest, thinking back, I wondered if I gave too much or if his family would appreciate my words, but his sister in that moment said that my words from the balloon release were her favorite and she appreciated them.
Thankfully as the service started, the seats filled up, as they should, Pete was amazing. The COO got up and gave loving words about my dear friend. Another friend got up and spoke briefly. An exgirlfriend of his spoke as well. Its so beautiful and strange to see these different aspects and periods of his life come together to say goodbye to him in this moment. Then Pete's sisters got up. They gave beautiful words to describe their relationship and spoke about how substance abuse stole a big part of his life. They also mentioned how the two years that he cared for his daughter were among the brightest moments of his story. They followed up their words with pictures. Baby pictures, adolescent pictures, then adult pics. The adult pics made me lose it again. I didn't know young or teenage Pete, but I knew Pete in his 40's and I was hurt. At least I wept silently this time.
After the service, my disposition gave away that I was grieving, although I tried my best to hold it together. One of the girls that I've taken a special interest in was there and I reminded her that she and I were together the last time we saw Pete. I also told her that Pete and I had talked about her previously and we both agreed that she is a gem. A friend in attendance told me that my young protege had previously had a slight crush on Pete. Totally can't blame her though. She also admitted to me that she had the crush and I assured her that I could see why. I remember that one of my last convos with him, I told him how good he looked for his age. Never would have imagined that he was 47. He complimented me for looking young as well.
While none of my close friends were present, strangely enough, a resident of my internship was the one that brought a smile to my face. He made me eat because I'm "one of those" (a person that doesn't eat when I'm upset). He made me laugh. He didn't even know Pete. He just saw that Pete was a bright light and sometimes its hard to let bright lights go. I made sure to thank the COO and the CEO for the use of the building for his service. I see the COO frequently, but this was my first time meeting the CEO. I thanked her for the beautiful service, and introduced myself at Malika, the intern. She said that she'd already known who I was and that she heard that I was close to Pete. She told me to make sure that I take care of myself. I started to tear up again with her kind words.
I tried to go straight to my fave coffeehouse to work on this blog and more paperwork. I needed a bit of a drive though before I landed here. I just needed a moment of clarity. So I finally landed here. Here I am. I think that my moment last night helped to bring me the peace I need. Ready to move forward. And finally ready to say goodbye. For now.