My days since my last post have been incredibly busy and full of responsibilities, so I make no apologies for not posting. The holy days have come and gone, and brought with them much joy and many changes. Another thing the brought was an unusual (for me) number of deaths. These will make them memorable if nothing else does. I'll probably be writing at more length about each of them, but here's an overview.
One “death” was symbolic and sentimental, but a small death nonetheless: we moved out of the house in which we have dwelt for 25 years, the house in which we raised our family. This was not unexpected – in fact, it was so long overdue that we were getting a bit impatient for it to happen – but it was nonetheless a little death to close the door on the empty, emptied home and leave it forlorn, awaiting the crane and bulldozer. A couple of my daughters wrote their own eulogies here and here, and being the sentimental slob that I am, I'll probably have more to say about it in a later post, but for now it's enough to say that the end of 2009 brought with it the end of the Scott Avenue years, the main years of raising our family.
Another death was an acutal one, and though it was somewhat expected it was nonetheless a loss. An old friend and fellow pro-life worker passed away on January 2nd, 2010 and was buried on the Feast of the Epiphany, January 6th. His name was Dan, and he was 90 years old and had suffered from several chronic health troubles over the years to which he finally succumbed. He was a hale and cheerful fellow, and while his health let him was a vigorous member of our Right to Life chapter. Even while his health failed he would still participate in whatever he could - daily Mass, Bible study, pro-life activities. He was a regular attendee at our banquets, and even this summer and fall I would at times see him with his rolling gait ambling along up the sidewalk near his home, getting his exercise. There was plenty of warning before his death, so his family had time to gather around him. His funeral was a true celebration of life - the life of Christian witness that he had lived, and the new life he entered into. My final impression of Dan Bradley is what I want said of me when I draw my last breath: he was found faithful at his post. God bless you, Dan.
But what cast a shadow over the whole holiday was the unexpected and tragic death of my grand-niece Amelia. I received a frantic call from my hysterical sister, Amelia's grandmother, on the morning of December 21st, just after we'd spent a busy and exhausting weekend moving into our new house. My sister had been called by her daughter, Amelia's mother, who'd gone in to get the baby for her morning feeding to find her lifeless in her crib.
Amelia was a precious child, dearly loved by her parents and relatives. Though I never had the chance to meet her, Ellen and I had plans to visit my sister that would have included visiting Amelia and her family. She was born in September and was to be baptized on Christmas day. Apparently the Lord wanted to take care of that personally, but her death left all of us devastated. Our prayers were with my sister and her family as they mourned their loss during the season which is usually full of joy.
So for me, this year's holiday season was marked by these deaths. I did a lot of thinking and praying, and will surely have more to say about them. But I did want to post a tribute to my little grand-niece, which follows:
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