This was a week of strange occurrences, as always happens when a loved one dies. Monday night, John’s sister, “GG” called on behalf of his other sister and brother-in-law, Holli and Brian. Brian’s mother, age 81, whose health had been declining this past year, had died that evening, surrounded by her loving family and their prayers for her. She was kept pain free, peaceful and surrounded by love. The door to her room had been shut firmly by Brian, her son. With him and Holli were her daughter, Pam, along with other family members. Her breathing slowed down to nothing. When she took her last breath, the door opened. Everyone thought the nurse was coming in to check on her. No nurse. We all believe it was her husband, John, come to take her soul “home” with him to Heaven (15 years after his death).
John and I felt we should be there for Brian. He was wonderful to John’s Mom when she lived with him and Holli. Holli jokingly used to call him “Saint Brian.” I think he got that characteristic from his mother. Strangely, John, who usually digs his heels in and balks at changes, promptly got online and arranged for the hotel room and time off from work.
Taking his lead, I did the same. Ann covered my hearings for me Thurs. PM and Fri. all day. I even e-mailed my “other boss” Nancy (Music Director) and asked what I should practice for Sunday. We have all been getting ready for the Vivaldi Gloria and have been doing bits of it during Communion the past few Sundays. I have been teasingly singing the old rock song, G-L-O-R-I-A during choir practice and so brought along the CD and music for practicing in the car, should John lose his mind and let me do so (never happened).
Right when we were about to leave for NY thursday afternoon, I realized I had left the sheet music in the house, and ran in and got it. As I got into the car, laying the music on the dashboard, I realized Brian’s Mom’s name is/was GLORIA. Told John it would be appropriate to listen to it on the way up. No go.
At the funeral, Father Frank (now a monsignor) used her name to say that her life had given glory to God. True that. Mrs. Smith was a lovely, quiet and kind woman. Her grandchildren remembered her with fondness at the eulogy Holli and Brian’s son, Jamie, delivered. Max, Pam’s husband and Gloria’s Jewish son-in-law, prayed in Hebrew at her gravesite, yarmulka and all. It was a beautiful remembrance of a woman whose heart was big enough to bring into her family people who did not share the same faith as hers. Not that this would be difficult with someone as wonderful and loving as Max!
Mrs. Gloria Smith was buried at Holy Rood Cemetery in Westbury, LI, NY. My mother was buried there also. When I heard that, I had the strangest feeling that visiting her grave was one of the purposes of my trip! Called the office from my cell phone while in the car waiting in the funeral procession. Section 19, Range E, No. 82 was the location. After Mrs. Smith was laid to rest, John and I slipped over to that part of the cemetery and visited. At first we couldn’t find it, but there it was! Here’s a picture:
It’s a beautiful stone, replacing the old one that was destroyed or stolen when her grave was moved from St. Johns EC in Cold Spring Harbor to Holy Rood in Westbury. I felt bad not to have brought flowers, but I didn’t know we’d be going there! (John’s sister Holli later said she’d put flowers there. It’s silly, but somehow that was so comforting. I must be getting old.) John and I stayed and said the Our Father, (Episcopal style with the “for thine is the Kingdom” part) and a Hail Mary. Told “her” she could stop rolling now. My mom always had a sense of humor:) We left the graveyard, but I felt like I should have stayed a few minutes longer.
Late last night, I finally took a look at my e-mail. One of my brothers is going through a hellacious time right now. His e-mail worried me. I sent him a couple of text messages (for some reason, I can’t send e-mails from my phone – gotta check that out!). Crazy thinking time here – was she/is she worried about Rob?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a big one for graveyards. In fact, I intend to be cremated when my time comes. If there’s a bodily resurrection, God can do it with or without a corpse in the ground, for Heaven’s sake. It’s the soul that matters. Which is why this stuff intrigues me. I didn’t expect to feel that way. It blindsided me. Hmm.
The snow is coming down right now for what looks like will be the first and last snow storm of this winter, I hope. We may not even have church tomorrow, let alone choir. But I will take some time to practice Et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis (#2) from the Gloria and pray for Robearskin…..
still hoping to complete the cable vest, Madison’s sweater, Ruby’s sweater and the FLAK (Aran knitalong) sponsored by Big Sky Knitting (Janet Szabo’s website) – one for John and one for me:) Got to remember to send Holli those knitting books….
Ah well, for now I’m enjoying being INSIDE while the snow is OUTSIDE and sipping on a glass of cabernet, sending out e-mails, practicing music and KNITTING:)
Life, at least for now, is good…….