Not too many years ago, it seems, I would never have imagined that this time would come. I'm going to be 60 this year, and somehow I just never gave survival to this age a consideration. Mind you, I only really wanted to die during the worst of my depressions, but this age was somehow 'way out there' and didn't bear thinking about. Today, Canada Day, is a special day for me and my family, and so thoughts of mortality whisper in and out of my mind, unbidden, all day.
It was 28 years ago that my brother, Garth, died. Suddenly, unexpectedly, you might almost say explosively. An unknown aneurism lurked in his body, and it chose this day of celebrations to make itself known. The medical people say that he died quickly, in just a couple of minutes, but leaving two young daughters and a wife, a budding administrative career in the civilian branch of the Armed Forces, and a family that loved him and admired him for his talents and abilities, means that the quickness of his death is little consolation for the huge loss.
He would be proud of his daughters if he were here. He would be retired too, and we could visit more often perhaps. Still, I take consolation in the fact that he did have faith, he was kind, generous and gave freely of his time and talents, so, as a believer, my consolation is my belief that he is enjoying the peace and comfort of Heaven at this moment.
Now, here's one of those things that makes you go 'Hmmmmmmmm...':
Quite some years ago we were in another parish. The parish had a program to raise funds for new hymnals, so you could donate the cost of a hymnal and dedicate it to whoever you liked and they would put a label to that effect in it. I paid for one in my brother's name and that was that. The parish purchased something like 300 hymnals as a result of this fundraiser. A little over a year or so later I was at church on the anniversary of his death. As an usher, one of my jobs was to tidy up the church before people started coming in for Mass. While doing so I was saying a prayer for my brother, hoping and trusting in our Lord's mercy that my brother would be sharing his blessings in Heaven. While I was doing this I picked up a new hymnal from a holder in a pew and turned to look at the dedication. It was the one I had made for my brother! I'm not going to state that it was a miracle or anything, but it certainly went a long way in reassuring me of God's love for us.
Oh, and Happy Canada Day, everyone!
... of the Used, Abused, and Utterly Screwed Up.
A Secular Franciscan looks at the world... with a more jaundiced eye than ever... and lots of ellipses for you to fill in the missing text... (with thanks to Thomas S. Klise for the title)