Preparing for Julia Campbell’s services

I was telling some friends and coworkers at lunch today that I am going to services for Julia Campbell this weekend. I said I felt I really wanted — needed — to be there, and mentioned a business columnist we all worked with who died late last year. We all attended that service, which was a wonderful mix of celebration and sadness. I felt — funny word, perhaps, for a funeral — uplifted after it. I think it made me understand more clearly the need to cherish those close to me, because at any moment, they — like the columnist and like Julia — can be gone. In a life filled too often with trivia that drowns out so much else, I could use reminders like that.

Someone also said they thought it was more important as we got older to go to funerals — to remember those who have left and honor the lives they led. I feel a little anxious going to Julia’s services this weekend — I will only know a couple of people, and unlike many, I wasn’t in contact with Julia in recent years. I didn’t know of her decision to join the Peace Corps until I read she was missing and found murdered in the Philippines.

One of Julia’s family friends mentioned in an e-mail that it was impressive that I would come from Florida for the service. Julia did not make many connections down here — her time was so short and not always pleasant, but she did touch a few of us. That, and the life Julia led, especially in recent years, is what is impressive.