I just had a terrible night.
Got a call from my Mother….a good friend of the family passed away last week.
That makes four deaths close to me in the past 5 months.
It has not been a good year.
In July, my 98 year old Grandmother passed away. I’m so glad that I moved close enough to spend time with her at the end. My Mother took it hard. My Grandmother had been living with her since I was about 3 and had helped to raise me. She was perhaps one of the strongest people I’ve ever known. My uncle related a story about the first time he met her, he came up to the house they lived in, and my grandmother was out back chopping wood (at 60-something). I go over to see mom often, and have her visit my fiancé and me as often as she wants, but she’s still alone in her house now. I guess we all just thought she’d live forever.
About a month after that, when my fiancé’s mother was down to visit us for a week, we received word that her Mother (my fiancé’s Grandmother) had also died in her sleep. I didn’t have a chance to get to know her that well, she lived in a Masonic Nursing Home in another state, but I was able to sneak a few minutes with her on one visit. She told me how happy she was the Meredith had found someone, and gave me her blessing. Another funeral, this one Jewish, a very sad and depressing way to meet the rest of her family. With Meredith (my fiancé) moving to another state with me earlier this summer, and her Mother passing, it has been a difficult few months for her as well.
2 weeks ago, my stepmother’s father passed away. He had Parkinson’s and had been getting worse for a few years; still, it was a loss. I wasn’t able to make it up for the Funeral, but saw everyone this past weekend. A good man, retired from the Navy, loved his family, and did the best he could in life. Always treated me fairly (even though I wasn’t really his grandson) and tried to make me feel included.
And then last night I find out about a friend from childhood. Art Goodman, I won’t say that he was a father figure to me, but he was a strong male influence on me. He and his wife Sally were our neighbor’s when I was a child. I played with their younger son all the time, stayed at their house, and ate dinner with them. He showed me how to split wood, shovel snow, and mow the yard. His widow is now left alone with a ton of medical bills, a fight with the VA about his benefits, and no one to really help much. She doesn’t even drive, Art always took care of her. He had been having some medical problems, but nothing too serious…he got up during the night, and when he got back in bed, he asked her to hold his hand…and then he died.
I don’t know why I’m sharing this….perhaps just to leave a cyber-epitaph for them. To know that they won’t be forgotten, to share a little of my pain…and thereby lessen it. While I’m not very religious, I have strong Faith. This is the only time in my adult life, that I’ve ever doubted, ever been uncertain. I don’t know…but I’ll end with this snippet from Mr. Dylan Thomas.
And Death Shall Have No Dominion
And death shall have no dominion.
Dead men naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon;
When their bones are picked clean and the
clean bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.