People remember things they play over and over in their heads, and so I will always remember meeting Leslie Soldani.
It was at Mama Rosie's house in Chalmette; I might have been going to Loyola at the time, or maybe I was there visiting.
Either way, my cousin Jason brought he lovely, happy new wife to meet us and she and I ended up partially sharing a chair around a crowded round table.
The only way to keep from falling off was to put our arms around each other and so we sat there partially hugging. I liked her right away; she was soft and happy and funny. She told me her favorite Journey song was "City by the Bay" and the two of us sung it together, ignored by the chaos at the table (there may have been crawfish and oysters and po-boys involved; I can't say).
Over the years Leslie brought treasure to our family (Britney, Sean-Michael, Evan Winn) and has been a constant source of encouragement and kindness who never stopped learning, trying and growing.
This morning I found out that Leslie has left us and I am heartbroken.
I want to say the right thing, and what keeps coming to my mind is that wisdom quote about how people come into our lives for one of the following: 1) a reason 2) a season 3) forever.
I have heard we come to earth to gain wisdom. I've also heard we are put here to challenge everything and forget what we think we know so that we can see the truth.
Leslie was here for a reason AND for a season AND forever.
Our lives, our families, our roots and futures are tangled forever and I can only find solace believing that you haven't gone very far at all....