…….too little time
Been too long since the last post and a lot has happened. Between adjusting meds to find a balance and sleeping more than waking, I’ve gotten way behind on updates, so here’s some summaries to catch you up…..
Many people come into your lives, some for a short time,3-4 years; some for a long time, 50 years or more.
Bev and Steve, owners of Redbery bookstore in Cable WI., are the first kind: generous, friendly,always a smile and are involved in the community……. they are retiring and they will be missed. They have left their mark on Cable.
Along with Brian Cahill, the former head of Catholic Charities SF who has left his mark on the SF Catholic Community, by gently and quietly taking apart the misguided words of the Archbishop there, Salvatore Cordileone, using wit, logic, and his own words to hoist him on his own petard! Along with his dedicated ministry to police forces around the bay area to hammer home the hard story of police suicide and how to prevent it. He has also become a close friend through our discussions about Fortunate Families in particular and the others in general. He is a kind, generous, and faith filled man whom I cherish as a friend, as short a time as it has been.
People from around world – friends from cruise ships, friends among sheep herders in Mongolia, friends from the groups you’ve worked with in New York, Germany, Mississippi, Colorado Springs, Bangkok, LA and the Bay area ……. all have unique lives to share but the most important ones are your neighbors. You share a property line, but unfortunately in a lot of places ( CA!) you also share a fence. I visited a friend in MA a number of years a go and standing in their back yard was an experience – their, and their neighbors, back yards rolled down into the forest and not a stick of wood, strand of wire or hedge between houses could be seen. Heavenly – let’s start a national petition to make fences illegal! Less fences, more friends.
Then there are those friends who grow like soft, pastel colored flowers in the garden, who sneak up on you and suddenly are there, a friend for life.
Not to mention family. A daughter comes home for a year to help out in this end of life crisis, which turns out not to be an ‘end of life’ but getting close to end of life, and a new family bond is created. And then a son who appears three days after the final prognosis who has been here a cumulative set of friendship building days that exceed the sum of days we’ve been able to see him in the last 29 years. A friendship built on love, trust, and a bit of head knocking on each side to grow a shared bond of living and dying.
That was the last word that Michael typed. He thought he would get back and finish it later. I’ve wondered what he was going to write next. The week before he died he had just come home from a trip to Las Vegas where he said goodbye to an old friend. Michael’s death on May 21st came as a surprise to many because when asked how he was he always told people he was fine “except for my legs. They are just shot”. Assuming that was true many thought he had more time to be with us. He rarely complained about how he was feeling except to say, “I hate this”. “This” was cancer.
We had a grand celebration of his life at the Vigil on May 29th and at the funeral on the 30th. It was a joyous celebration where people spoke of their experience of knowing him. There was also great sadness because those of us that love him will miss his presence in our lives. A good friend of ours called his spirit and goodness as “his Michael-ness”. I love that description. After being married to him for over 52 years I have many wonderful memories of our life together and of how his Michael-ness changed my life.
One of our daughters heard the following Franciscan Blessing at her church and when I read it I felt that it was the perfect ending for Michael’s blog because it speaks of how he lived his life.
May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart. Amen
May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace. Amen.
May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain into joy. Amen.
May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.