November 23, 2010

Death in the Family

Notice of the loss of loved ones never comes easy.  Not to those personally affected--mother, father, sibling--nor to those who knew the deceased.  And while the Wally family has suffered quite a few losses in the last few months, none hit as hard as the death of Shirley Rogers.

Shirley must have been an extraordinarily beautiful person and I regret not having the opportunity to know her better.  She was already on a leave of absence when I joined the B'ville store so I only knew her slightly. However, the stories are legion; the loyalty to her amazing.   Each trip to the hospital, each extended stay, brought a fresh bout of tears and apprehension.  There were fundraisers among the staff and in the community. And prayers. Staff members visited faithfully.  Plates were prepared, errands run, and some stayed by the bedside during the final hours. But Shirley's time was limited. On her last trip to the hospital, a few months ago, she was told that she would not be released.  Last week, we were told that she only had a few hours to live.  But the fighter in her would not give in.  She passed on Sunday.  The store is devastated.

And there was the passing of Mrs. Ossie Bond, whom I would have loved to have met. Why?  She was 102 years old.  Born in 1908.  Her grandchildren (2 grands and 1 great-grand work at the store) say that she was in her right mind and mobile.  My, my, the stories she could tell.  WWI, the Depression, WWII, the Korean War, and more.  The technology that changed her life.  And did she love her hats?  Oh, yes.  Every photo in the program captured her in a fine "Sunday Go to Meeting" chapeau.

And then there was the death of my cousin, "Junior", earlier this month.  Four of us were born in 1948--Junior in the winter; Jay in the spring; Kat and I in the fall.  While the same age, we didn't grow up together as they do down here.  However, I remember the races we had to hurdle the fences in the neighborhood; great fun when the cousins gathered.  Gathering fireflies; his leading me to Grandma's house when the Thanksgiving football game exploded into a full-fledged riot.  Where did he come from?  How did we meet up during such chaos?  My first and only time at annual city championship game.  And time intervened.  Years went by without my seeing him. The last time I saw him was just before I left D.C.  Again, a chance meeting, on a bus of all places. His bad health had taken an awful toll and I remember being afraid that his inability to speak clearly might make him a target. I'm told that the service was moving. RIP.

So where am I going with this?  Life is short.  Live it to its fullest. Love and laugh freely.  Love the Lord with all your heart. Make a difference in someone's life so that your last days will be good ones without regret.

Be safe. Be Blessed.

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