Sunday, April 9, 2017

Spreading kindness and love

Four funerals in 18 months. Three of them were for family members most would consider had died too young. We cry out this is enough. Yet, on the horizon I see funerals for Mom, Dad’s sister, brother, and sister-in-law, and Mom’s two sisters and two brothers-in-law. All are in their 80s. Mom has Alzheimer’s. Her sister has Parkinson’s. The rest seem to be holding their own, though showing decline. We’re not done with funerals yet, though hopefully not so many crammed into such a short time. And, hopefully, no more of those who die too young.

I drove to a little town in western Ohio on Friday and returned Saturday. Sara had died of a cancerous brain tumor. Time from first symptoms to death was four weeks. Sara was wife to Joe and he is a first cousin to Dad – their mothers were sisters. Joe was born when Dad was in high school and Joe’s younger sister is just a couple months older than my older brothers, so Joe and his sisters seem more like my cousins than Dad’s. Even so, I didn’t know Sara well.

I attended visiting time at the funeral home on Friday evening. There were lots of people from the community in addition to the relatives. The receiving line stayed long. I was able to talk to descendants of Joe’s mother, which included several second cousins, many of whom I hadn’t seen in several years. I also got to meet many of his mother’s great-grandchidren. There are now 13 in that generation. The oldest is 14 and the youngest is 5 months. I found it useful to review the definitions of the types of cousins.

The funeral was Saturday morning. A few more relatives were able to come, such as Dad’s brother and his wife and daughters. There was also a daughter of Grandma’s other sister. In the service Sara was described as spreading kindness and love through all she did. Her younger son gave a fine eulogy, stressing he had been taught to also spread kindness and love. Memorial money is going to an organization that works to repair families of troubled boys.

The pastor invited us to stay in the church as long as we wanted after the luncheon. But after everyone had eaten Joe invited us all over to his house. He wanted to get out of his church clothes. Though we had just eaten snack foods were laid out. By early afternoon roasters of meat had arrived. When I left at 5:00 to return to Michigan the party was still going strong. A house full of family and friends enjoying each other’s company with a well stocked kitchen. Sara’s kind of party.

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