Friday, January 6, 2012

The Epiphany of Aging Parents: Marion, Edna, Jacques, and Richard

Above is a picture of Marion Kelley Nudd who, at 93, decided it was time to take the ride of her life in a helicopter over Orlando.  A few days after this picture was taken, she died of a stroke with her family around her, including her youngest daughter and my friend, Donna.  Marion's funeral is this morning.
Her death comes a month after Donna's partner, Terry, lost her own mother, the feisty and funny Edna Geneva Galloway.  Terry and her sisters were with their mother as she slipped away following surgery to unclog the arteries in her neck.
Both of these ladies now join the communion of saints... which includes Jacques, father of my friend Beatrice who died in France this fall.  And before them was Richard, father of my friend, Dona, who passed away on this date one year ago, a fitting date for a King of a man.
I know what it means to lose a parent.  My dad died in 2007, and my partner's father, Arthur, died a little over a year later.  Even when your parents are showing signs of decline, there is an eerie feeling of being un-anchored from the dock when death finally happens.
And still, there is life that comes out of a death.  I sensed that even though my father was no longer here with me in this realm, there was something more that came afterward for him.  What it was, I had no idea.  I just was left with a sense of growth and grace that said this cycle of loss really was OK.   And most importantly, living on earth was also OK; better than OK.  Because the freedom I felt that was there for my father was also available in a different way for me now.  That's the taste of God that is eternal life.
Happy Epiphany.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nicely put, Susan and here I am your remaining parent and trying to live as actively as I can at 84. It has been hard to see others at my church pass away this past month, and many younger. But, I feel I am here to do what I can in this life before going on to the next one. I hope so!