Tuesday, June 15, 2010

thank you

I'm grateful for the comfort offered through comments and emails, phone calls, etc. that have been offered to our family.  The virtual community has been a strong support for me, in addition to the presence of friends locally.

As you know, Laddie's AD took a rapid turn for the worse after Mother's death, and then the stroke, followed by other problems.  These last few years offered little quality of life, which is why I love John Donne's interpretation of death as a "translation" in Med. 17 and his thoughts concerning death in his Holy Sonnet 10, both turn death into a triumph ("the soul's delivery") rather than a tragedy, especially when one has lived a long life.  Turning to my favorite poems has been a comfort for me.  The last line in Gerard Manley Hopkins' Spring and Fall is the truest, I think, concerning the death of a loved one: "it is [ourselves we] mourn for."

So, putting that portion aside, funerals allow the reunion of family and friends.  There is great comfort in that joining together of family and friends that often live far away and gather again.  Laddie was the last of the 6 siblings, and the cousins are now the oldest generation.  That is a strange feeling.

Our cousin Mike, a Methodist minister, gave the message and produced a lot of laughs during the funeral.  The most touching moment for me was when our cousin Bob, Jr. in his Air Force uniform presented the flag.  There was such tenderness in that.

Later we gathered at the cabin and shared more memories and laughter, a little celebration of memories about Max, Carmen, Corry, Mary, Buddy, and Laddie--the mischief and mayhem of those siblings as well as those of the cousins as we were growing up.  Looking at old pictures and marveling at ones we'd never seen before was joyful experience, and Laddie's beautiful grandchildren and great grandchildren gave my brothers and I a very personal look at his legacy.

Once again, my heartfelt thanks for all who have offered comfort and prayers.  Now back to the living, the memories yet to be made, the gratitude and appreciation of the present.