2012 is quickly drawing to a close and there are people I want to remember. Brace yourself for some somber words.
Christmas is an odd time to think about the Grim Reaper but this season I cannot ignore what we all inevitably face. I am no stranger to Death. He knocked on my door when I was 7 and took my dad. 7 is too young to know that Daddy isn’t coming home. He traveled a lot and so I thought one day he would be back. Or so that is what my second grade teacher told my Mom when I started school again that Fall.
Last March, Death took my mother-in-law. But unlike my Dad, she went on her own terms. Kathryn lived with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) for 14 years. When we got the call on February 26 from my Father-in-Law Gerry that Mom isn’t doing well, Eric, who was on a work trip in California at the time, returned home immediately. I followed two days later after squaring the kids away with my mother and sister. What I experienced for the next 3 days was Holy. Kathryn was sick but her spirit was not. She knew her time was near and so she hung in until she had seen all her children. During that time, we learned once again that there are so many ways to communicate how we feel when our mouths no longer move. A look, a smile, says it all. Kathryn died on March 8th in her home with her lover beside her.
What follows is one of my favorite passages from Willa Cather’s book, “Death Comes for the Archbishop.” I turn to it when someone I know has passed away:
“In those days, even in European countries, death had a solemn social importance. It was not regarded as a moment when certain bodily organs ceased to function, but as a dramatic climax, a moment when the soul made its entrance into the next world, passing in full consciousness through a lowly door to an unimaginable scene. Among the watchers there was always the hope that the dying man might reveal something of what he alone could see;”
This Christmas season, my thoughts and prayers are with my friend Cathy, whose mother passed away unexpectedly on December 26th. To Robert Donato Pinto, Kathryn Regina HibbsVoit, Arlene Shaw, may God Bless you and keep you. You are His now until we all meet again.