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Life and grief in Liverpool:Matt's Memo

Kelly Wilson (Photo from Helping Hounds Dog Rescue)

Tonight the sunset glimmered off a still Onondaga Lake. Couples strolled. Children played. Friends jogged, biked and wandered through the park. A 79 degree mid-July evening. The village teemed with traffic. A father held a fishing pole in one hand, his daughter in the other as they crossed with the light. The din of conversation raised from the outdoor seating of the landmark Retreat bar and restaurant. Library members carried a fresh summer read down one sidewalk. Down another sidewalk a line of people silently stood and waited and hugged and cried.

Some longtime Liverpool neighbors say there's never been a line like that before. Winding a village block outside the Maurer Funeral Home. It wound another village block once inside. Couples, friends and families marking time until it was their turn for a handshake, a kiss and a lasting embrace. As they waited the reminisced. They soaked in the dozens of photos of Kelly Ross Wilson. The family's tears may have stained the pictures, but they surely had no trouble finding one with her trademark bright smile. She was always wearing it.

The preponderance of mourners had barely reached their mid-twenties in age. Kelly was 26. They have yet to learn fully how to grieve. It's too young to know. It's far too young for her husband Matthew to endure the ache of losing your sweetheart. They had just married the autumn before. They just bought a house. They just adopted a rescue puppy. They just...

They just did everything for the first time. And as it turned out the last. A blameless accident took her life while she spent a joyous time with her closest of friends. Suddenly Kelly's mother and father were struggling for how to say goodbye to their daughter whose life was right on course. Who could possibly know how that is done.

It begins by feeling the love of the hundreds who surrounded them tonight. It continues by accepting the prayers and wishes of support that have arrived en masse. It extends forever by cherishing each memory of a little girl who became a sparkling young woman.

In Liverpool tonight the sunset glimmered. One father wished for one more chance to hold his little girl's hand, to wander through the park, to sit and share a lemonade with the woman she became. Instead they came and stood and waited and hugged and cried.

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