Leaves on this Family Tree

Saturday, September 17, 2011

I Wonder Why

An envelope came in thee mail today. It was addressed to me from Debbie, my cousin. I wondered what it was . . it was about the size of a picture, so I figured she and Marilyn had found a picturre, at Aunt Ruth's, that they wanted me to see.

I opened thee envelope and Debbie had sent me a laminated funeral card and laminated obituary. On the note with it she wrote:

Dear Paula,
Thought you would want these to keep from Mom's funeral.. We made it through but there is a big hole in our heart

Mom loved you very much! Thanks for trying to get here - you did your best!! But we missed you !!


You know, I always knew that . . . when we saw each other her eyes always sparkled. But again, it made me wonder - What is that magical thing that makes relatives connect? If you are lucky, you know  from birth that you are loved by your immediate family. Then, there is  a special bond between aunts/uncles/nieces and nephews. It is just there.

I know when I first held each of Lee's kids that the bond was already there. And, even though we say each other seldom when they were growing up, that invisible string was still there.

Same thing whenever Marilyn and Debbie and I would get together. Mom would always say, "You three pick up right where you left off last time."

And  we did.

Growing up I would spend 1 week in Gary with them and they would come down to Logan, individually, and spend a week with us. Each of us just blended into the other family, even though thee dynamics of each family were different, both places felt like home.

Now, when I hear Marilyn, Debbie, Allison, Lauren Chris or Matt's voices I just start grinning. Just the sound makes me happy. If it's a phone call, I smile all the way through the call . . . even when they are sad. I just like hearing them.

Becky Holcomb Redmon has a saying attributed to an ancient Chinese belief on her blog. The gist is that when one is born, they are born with an invisible red thread than connects them to everyone who loves and cares for them.

I guess the Chinese are right . . . there sure is something that connects you to those who love or have loved you and those who have cared for you.

Which brings to mind Eileen Raikes, Dad, Aunt Ruth and Helen's cousin. When she died, I went to the funeral . . . which was in Frankfort, Indiana, on one of the coldest, snow-blowiest, icy-est winter days I can remember. I no more than got into the funeral home than her husband, Maurice, looks at me, smiles and says, "Paula."

It had been years since we had seen each other, but the feeling was still there . . . family.

When I let her daughter Bonnie know about Aunt Ruth, she made the comment, "Mom didn't see Ruth often, but she sure loved her."

Again, an invisible connection.

Here is a poem that the minister read at Eileen's funeral and was on the back of the funeral program for Maurice. I had never heard it, but I want it read at my funeral . . . see what you think.


"Our Family Tree"
~by David Carnes

Our family tree has shed a leaf
No words will stem the sorrow
Was not the first . . . won't be the last
Won't be the same tomorrow.

Kind words from friends help ease the grief
But words need not be spoken
For time alone will ease the pain
Of hearts that have been broken.

Our tree has weathered many storms
Some limbs have been stripped bare
But it was planted long ago
With tender, loving care.

It has been watered through the ages
With the teears we've shed in grief
Each time our family tree decides
To shed another leaf.

It's roots are strong . . . and they run deep
Firmly steeped in family traditions.
We mourn our loss . . . then carry on
With the help of our religious convictions.

May God bless our latest leaaf to fall
His own hand-picked selection
As it joins the leaves we've sent before
To heaven's leaf collection.

Our family tree has shed a leaf
No words will stem the sorrow
Was not the first . . . won't be the last
Won't be the same . . . tomorrow.

Now, tell someone you love that you love them . . . how surprised will they be?

And, a little something from Red Skelton that I think sums me up quite well:

"A clown is the depth of all emotion. His soul cries out for his fellow man. He understands people so well he can mime them without hating them. I believe the clown is the most serious of all men and the most lonely, for he is seldom recognized once his grotesque makeup is removed."

1 comment:

  1. I wish you had been able to make it to Indiana.

    So sorry you didn't get to go. And I'm sorry you missed the funeral.

    And just so you know - every time I make grilled tenderloin - I give a little shout out to you and thank you for sharing your wisdom with me!


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