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Sunday, August 30, 2015


It's been a busy summer for me. After traveling to Israel in March (go backwards from I had time to recover and go to Door County Poetry Camp with Robin Chapman before I taught at the Center for Gifted. My first class was Fused Art Quilts, followed by Artbotics, and Lego Mindstorms and WeDo. After recovering from five weeks of work, I began to clean out closets, the garage, and books. I finished piecing my daughter's "Unwedding Quilt" and pieced a donation quilt for my church.

Yesterday, I was able to inter my parents ashes, although they died years ago. It's a time of taking stock and letting go. I feel sad that they are gone, and that it took over two years to inter their ashes, and that there is a division in the family that has never been there before. It was a straggly crew, just me, my cousin, a son and another son's family. My mom's best friend had a flat tire on the way and missed the ceremony, but had time to sit and visit with us, remembering my mom and dad. My cousin and I have once again proclaimed our love for each other. So glad she was there. I spent the day at home after my beloved family left, just quiet and not knowing what to do (I know - just pick up the phone). I needed that time, though, to reach some peace about the situation. My parents are gone, they're not in the ashes in the graveyard, I know that. But there is a sense of place; of home, that a cemetery gives me when I take time out of my busy life to reflect on those that have gone before.

From my father, I learned a love of music, politics, and the outdoors. From my mother, a love of music, education, helping others, having fun, being myself. They had rough childhoods. My dad grew up in an alcoholic home, corporal punishment was common those days, and he was born less than nine months after they married  (shameful at the time). After he turned down two uncles who would have paid for his college, he rode the rails with the cattle to the south side of Chicago, then got a job in the steel mills of Gary from another uncle. My mom's dad compelled her and her 5 siblings to pray for an hour every morning and two hours every evening as a child, and she lost her mother when she was 16. She grew up on a farm during the depression where they ate what they grew. Motivated to do better, she became a registered nurse in Chicago, where she ran into my dad on the train going home. They married,then parted during WWII, where my dad carried dead bodies down from Monte Cassino and rescued Jews from boxcars. After the war, they settled in suburban Chicago to have and raise three children. Ken drove a truck for Dean's Milk in the days when unions provided a comfortable income for men to raise a family and women stayed home to raise the children. Adelaide began working when her children hit high school, in the Emergency Room of Northwest Community Hospital. All three kids went to college, paid for by their parents. All three kids stayed close by except for youthful excursions and later travel. All three participated in their care in their elderly years.

No matter how old your parents are, no matter how much they are suffering, it is still hard to say good-bye. After the distance of almost 3 years, it is much easier to write about them. I will always miss them.

I used to get mad at my mother when she would cry at every good-bye. Now I know, death is unpredictable and there is no one who can fill that hole.

1 comment:

Chris Loehmer Kincaid said...

Linda, I'm so sorry for your loses. I still miss my dad every day and it has been 22 years. My mom's health continues to decline and who knows (only God) how long she will be with us. I try to cherish the time I have left with her, but my own hectic life gets in the way.

We are never orphans, though, we are all always children of God.