Thanks for checking into my blog!

As a "recovering" middle school teacher with a unique outlook on life, I stopped active teaching in 2010 and moved into another career path... writing! Here goes! In addition, I am a travel buff, forever baseball addict, movie fan, music fan, foodie extraordinaire, NCIS devotee, gardener, and more.

Just love writing for kids, travel writing and basic journalism. Pretty unusual, since I taught Home Economics! But there's a story here too - a non-fiction one or more...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Done Too Soon

   Before I begin, you need to know a few things about me. I participate in my parish’s Sick and Bereavement Ministry as group secretary and part of the funeral repast catering group. One part of the ministry is visiting funeral homes and visiting the families. I am not comfortable doing that at this point in time for people I don’t know. My involvement is not 100% altruistic either. While I am giving community service, and doing my Christian duty (I hope) towards others helping bury the dead and console the living, I have to admit to all that I am working through the grief of losing my in-laws and my own parents through this ministry service. It does help me to help others. When all the old grief feelings get triggered by unexpected events, I know what is happening to my emotions and I have an outlet for my grief. I’m not just sitting around in my own personal pity party.

    Lately our church ministry has been very busy. There’s something about the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays that makes me wonder if the Lord doesn’t start a recall process right around that time. Losing someone during the holidays puts a pall on the whole holiday season for years to come. It’s always in the back of your mind. I know this first hand, since my mother passed just before Thanksgiving, my mother-in-law passed 4 days before Christmas and my dad passed on New Year’s Eve. This didn’t happen all in the same year… but at this point it doesn’t matter. Holiday seasons are rough sometime and this can be one of the reasons.

    Last week, I worked another funeral reception at church. I don’t think I was through the door of the house and ambulances pulled up across the street. My neighbor’s daughter was ill again. This was becoming a too familiar sight. She would go out in an ambulance and in a day or so, we would see her putting her kids on the school bus. This time, she didn’t come home to her kids.

     Now this is a girl who spent time at my house with my kids when they were growing up. How many times did she have lunch or snack at our table? How many times did she play in our yard? Or climb our trees? How many children’s choir practices did I take her to, along with my daughter? She lived with her kids at her mother’s house. Her mom was helping her raise them, since she was a solo parent. She did make some, let’s just say, unwise lifestyle choices in her teens and early adulthood. Her body couldn’t take it anymore. This time, I did go to the funeral home. I attended, rather than worked, the reception afterward. My daughter came with us.

     This whole event has me thinking about the natural order of operations. Children bury parents, not the other way around. Yet, sometimes the child has done all that was possible on this earth. This process is not my idea of “normal” but it’s what is.

    Many recent funerals from my parish were for older parishioners, those whose lives were long, productive, accomplished, and who suffered toward the end. But more and more, we are ministering to families who’ve lost young people, members of our human family who seem not to have finished living, who still have more to accomplish. This is so confusing – at least to me - since it’s not the way it’s supposed to be. The big question of “Why?” comes to mind over and over. I wish I had some answers. It was all done too soon.

    Neil Diamond penned the song “Done Too Soon” way back in the 70’s – actually 1970 to be exact for the young readers. The lyrics come to mind at times like this, and I find them strangely comforting. It helps me to think that my neighbor’s daughter, my kids’ playmate is in some really good company having passed away so young. Not everyone on Diamond's “litany of saints” is a positive model for life. But it seems to me that all had more to give to this world; seems to me like they all weren’t finished even though their time was up. Would some of these people made more of a difference if they lived longer? Would the world be a different place if they did live longer? How would the world be different? Who’s to know?

    I’ve placed a copy of the lyrics in the body of this posting. You can judge for yourself. I’m sure you can add names to the list. Use the song to help you through any grief situation. Me? I’m going to do my best to help her mom and her kids with the new – and extremely sucky – reality that we are all now a part.

    The daughter died at age 33. Jesus died at 33, too. No comparison of lives in the least… just sayin’…. just done too soon…

http://youtu.be/XSmJH1kxiHQ - Youtube link to the song performance and video by gettysburgguy

Done Too Soon

Written by Neil Diamond

Jesus Christ, Fanny Brice,
Wolfie Mozart and Humphrey Bogart and
Genghis Khan and
On to H. G. Wells.

Ho Chi Minh, Gunga Din
Henry Luce and John Wilkes Booth
And Alexanders
King and Graham Bell.

Krishna, Mama Whistler,
Patrice Lumumba and Russ Colombo,
Karl and
Chico Marx,
Albert Camus.

E. A. Poe, Henri Rousseau,
Sholom Aleichem and Caryl Chessman,
Alan Freed and
Buster Keaton too

And each one there
Has one thing shared:
They have sweated beneath the same sun,
Looked up in wonder at the same moon,
And wept when it was all done

For bein' done too soon,
For bein' done too soon.
For bein' done.
     1970 Pilgrim Music

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