If you don't know me I am the big brother. Ellen has two of those. I don't think she ever called us her older brothers, just her big brothers. She probably did that because I am 6 years older and Bruce is 8 years older. To her, we were always big. Even as adults she didn't catch up so we are her big brothers. When we found out we were going to have a little sister we thought that was one of the coolest things. There was never any sibling rivalry or jealousy. We always watched out for her. Maybe this is why she always laughed at our lame jokes because she knew how we felt and she thought laughing out loud would make us feel better. All it did was to encourage us to tell sicker and more lame jokes.
The last time I spoke at a funeral I told many amusing antidotes and stories this time I am going to be a little more serious because this is a different situation. This is not the funeral of an old person although I might stick in a funny story or two. In life there is a natural order to things. Ellen's life didn't follow that order but that doesn't mean her life wasn't a full meaningful joyful experience. You are born you grow up…
Generally speaking you start your own family, you have children, then your children have children and if you are really lucky your, children's children have children. Longevity wasn't in the cards for Ellen. The hand she was dealt didn't allow for that.
But there are other parts of her life where she drew a straight flush.
She has an incredible amount of people that love her and truly consider her a friend not just an acquaintance. Ok, anecdote one tell the please stand by story…
Now I want to get serious again. In life you meet many people and you create bonds with them. Some, for your whole life. The bond between a husband and a wife is one of the strongest bonds in life and the bond is strong between Ellen and David. But keep in mind you are not a blood relative to your spouse. So that bond is different than the one lam going to talk about. I think that one of the strongest bonds in all of life is the bond between a mother and an only daughter. My mother and sister had a straight line connection that I didn't and could not experience. It was palpable and obvious to all that knew them both.
Ellen had the same bond with Dana. Because of the new bond created it was like a triangle between my mother Ellen, and Dana. A straight line bond is a strong foundation but a triangular bond can be built upon and become stronger. My mother and Ellen's line was the foundation and Dana's line which then created a triangle, allowed the bonds to grow and become stronger. Why am I referring to these bonds? Because it was this strength she gained from these two women that allowed her to move forward in life despite the ailments she had.
The great joy she experienced by having Dana while having my mother to lean on, I believe, made it possible for her to make the very best of a bad situation and find joy and happiness in all things life had to offer her. It was a rare time that Ellen let things get to her. She had a much more optimistic outlook about it than I think I could ever have. She was incredibly strong and that strength helped people around her feel better and hopeful about her long term prognosis. I moved away when Ellen was 12 and I didn't see her very much. She took a class that I was teaching at the YMCA once and then I saw her every week.
Because of that I really didn't know much about her friends and the things she did in her spare time before she was married. I certainly didn't know her camp friends, that she was, and still is friends with. I only knew a few of her close friends when she was growing up - but one thing I do know is that she had the ability to have many, many friends that she loved and the feelings were reciprocated. So instead of thinking of a life too short, I think of a life fully lived and and fulfilled. Good bye Ellen, I love you.