Eight years ago many families lives were forever changed by the events of 9/11/01. I’ll never forget Ed telling me to turn on the news and how we were glued to the television for hours upon hours hoping what we were seeing was a horrible mistake. In fact, as we all came to realize, it was a horrible truth. Our country had been attacked by extremists and they celebrated…. CELEBRATED… our losses. Let us never forget those precious lives lost and how that unspeakable act has forever changed how we felt then and now as a nation.
Be safe, have fun and remember the reason we’re celebrating and those who have sacrificed their lives in order for us to be free!
After many years of only gathering for a death in the family, my Dad’s nephew and his wife organized a family reunion and held it at their home. While I did get a few random pictures of people looking through old albums or simply visiting, the ones I took of old photos in an album are one of the best parts of the day.
The young, barefoot boy on the left is my Daddy’s Dad. This is his huge family which wasn’t that uncommon back in those days. Pa, as the grandchildren came to call him, was born in 1893, Bea had this photo dated 1903 which would have made him around 10 years of age. I had never seen this picture and was amazed to see how much my Dad looked like his Dad at that age. In fact, I can see many family resemblances in his siblings and parents to my family members alive today.
This picture was surely taken in 1935 since the baby, my Dad, was born in the early fall of 1934. This was probably a springtime photo considering the clothing worn, the size of the baby and his birthdate. My dad’s mother, his brother and two sisters are pictured here. The two sisters are the only ones living at the present time with Beatrice at 83 years young and Jo Marie is soon to be 78.
Bea had this photo dated 1943. The oldest child, Max, Jr., would have been serving in the Army and of course, not present when this picture was taken. Daddy would have been around eight to nine years of age. They were a handsome lot and I was thrilled to get a copy of all of these. Pa lived to be 91 years of age, Mamaw was 82 years of age when she died, Max, Jr., was 73 years young and my Dad was way too young at nearly 55. Those that have gone on before us are never far from our memories and thank goodness, we have these wonderful photos to remember them by.
I’m meeting Cathy’s daughters this weekend. They want prints of the memorial I created for their Mom and I just couldn’t be happier about seeing them. Since they have mostly lived away from this area and have adult lives of their own, I had not gotten to know them other than to meet the older daughter once. I only knew the younger one through photos and the recent funeral. I’m hoping this will give me a bit of closure and at the same time a new beginning and lasting friendships with her cherished daughters. I think Cathy will be pleased, I know I am.
I mentioned I had created a memorial for Cathy and I thought I would share it. I had it printed and will use an 11 x 14 frame matted to the picture size which is 8 x 10. It has her high school picture and a picture taken at our school reunion last summer. It includes the obituary text and the poem her family had printed on the handout for her services. I created some of the elements on the page and some were free to use found on scrapbooking sites.
I realize is it unreadable at this size, but you get the idea of what it looks like. Now to be brave and take the framed print to her Mother. I keep finding excuses not to go. I know this past month has been a time of healing and trying to move forward and my visit and my gift will open up those wounds again… for her and for me. I will share the poem for it is beautiful.
Forty years ago I was in the sixth grade when my parents bought a home in the town I still reside in. We enrolled in school and I made a new friend who lived just a few miles down the road in another small community. I spent as much time at her home as I did at my own, especially on the weekends.
Cathy and I lost contact as so many do once grown. She married, had children and eventually moved away to the lure of better jobs and bigger money in a large city. I married and stayed put, but once the bond had broken, we never worked on getting it back until the summer of 2006. Danny, a school mate of ours decided to organize a school reunion and enlisted mine and Cathy’s help in contacting our class. She and I were once again fast friends and had many years of catching up to do.
Unfortunately, I lost my friend today. She was diagnosed yesterday with double pneumonia and talked her doctor into allowing her to go home. She passed away in her sleep and I am so sad. I intend to email Danny and thank him from the bottom of my heart for organizing that reunion. Had he not, Cathy and I might never have reunited and spent the last three years reminiscing and making plans for lunch dates not only with each other, but including more members of our class.
She had a huge heart, was never judgmental and had a loving spirit that I will miss til the day that I die. Rest in peace, Cathy, you deserve that and more.
The good: We had an enjoyable day of visiting and eating with our families today. I sincerely hope you did too!
The sad: We lost two extended family members in the last few days. My maternal grandmother’s sister’s 28-year-old granddaughter passed away Tuesday (Nov. 20) and her husband of 68 years died this morning (Nov. 22). Both were expected in recent weeks and days, but still a sad time and one you can never prepare for. One loved one’s passing is devastating, but to endure two at the same time is definitely heartbreaking. The Aunt is 84 years young and no doubt will be enduring the hardest times of her life in the days, weeks and months to come.
I’ve read this poem before and it comforts me. For those of you that have lost loved ones, I hope it comforts you too.
Keep my memory with you
For memories never die
I will be there with you
When you look across the sky.
I will be there in the clouds
In the birds that fill the air
In the beauty of a fragrant rose
You will find my memory there.
You will feel me in the tenderness
Of a baby’s gentle touch
You will hear me if you listen
In the twilights gentle hush.
When your heart is heavy
And you feel that you are alone.
Just reach down deep inside of you
For your heart is now my home.
I will always be with you,
I will never go away,
For I will live on in your heart
Forever and a day.