Monday, October 12, 2009


My niece. The oldest of my siblings' (and my) children. Who I've known since she was born and became a sweet little girl and then a sweet woman, who always seemed to be doing her best to do the right thing, and usually did (actually, as far as I know, always did).

She had been battling a cancer that began over a decade ago. So we were lucky to have her these past years and I guess she was fortunate to leave after the suffering had become too much. But still. How can death even exist for our loved ones? It seems so impossible, at least emotionally, despite the reality our intellects can grasp or at least understand.

No matter how well prepared we might be, as my older son and I were saying last night discussing this loss, it still is inconceivable, a shock, a deep disappointment.

I'll miss her. I can't even imagine how her husband and children and mother and sister and brothers must feel. (Her father, one of my brothers, passed over a decade ago himself.)

But I am grateful that I got to spend time with her over the past several years and talk and laugh and hopefully make clear the love I felt, and still feel, for her. May she rest in peace.

That's her on her mother Catherine's lap shortly after her birth. I'm the kid in the back with the floral shirt, my brothers to my right—Tommy who by then was Father Campion, Jimmy (or "Buddy" as we called him to distinguish him from my father) Cathy's father in the tee shirt, and Robert, the brother-leaning-down, and his wife Marie (known to us as "Sis") all the way to my right. My two sisters, Irene and Joan, with the pixie cut, are in front of my mother and her mother, my father all the way to my left sitting on the edge of the couch. A moment in time, or "the eternal now" as my friend Selby used to call it. Always.


harryn said...

so sorry for your loss michael - but forever grateful for the beauty your clan brings to the world ...

Caitlin said...

Hey dad, nice words. For some odd reason the left and right are reversed though, so Grandpa is on the rt. and Sis on the left. Nice picture. Miss them all who've gone before. Sigh.

Jamie Rose said...

Beautiful picture. Yes. The eternal now.

JIm said...

Death is not fun. I offer my sympathy for your family's loss. Good picture. I remember your sisters and your parents but not your brothers. It looks like you, very stylishly, have your shirt sleaves rolled, attempting to show some muscle.

JIm said...

I spoke to my brother Peter, who lives in South Carolina, today. I mentioned your blog and he said that your sister was in his class at OLS. I couldn't get him interested in supporting me on your blog. It would have be nice to hear one other conservative voice.

Robert G. Zuckerman said...


My sympathy and friendship are with you. I have come to know heaven as the home that the living create for our departed loved ones in our thoughts, hearts and in how we live on. Knowing you as I do, I am assured that she will dwell in a sacred and wondrous place.

robert z.

Nealix said...

Hi, I'm Neal D., the present Class Secretary for Cathy's class of 1973 at Surrattsville SHS in Clinton, Maryland. I got the word about the funeral in Frederick out to the class via email on FRI the 16th of OCT, thanks to her younger sister, to the classmates that stay in touch with me. They also will spread the word to others, as Cathy was deeply loved by our class.

I can tell you as one of Cathy's classmates for many years, she was the best of the best, a truly wonderful lady, one of those people who is still a bright shiny and warm memory when I think back on high school. I can still see her sweet smile and remember her gentle and kind humor, and her ready and sweet laugh even now in response to her classmates' humor and our times with her. She has left us far too early and we will miss her. I wept at my work desk a bit composing the email to the class, my tears flowing freely, it was hard passing such a sad word about a wonderful person we all loved leaving us far too soon, who had touched us all so deeply and sweetly with her presence there in high school. I was blessed to see her at some recent class reunions and that comforts me, she was still that same sweet smiling Cathy of a precious spirit we knew in high school. Sincerely, and missing her deeply, Neal