My wife gave Mary the little gold mesh rosary pouch that held one of Pop's handmade rosaries. He would sit in his chair for hours, before he was sick, and make rosaries to send to missions around the world. I gave the remaining beads to one of the Catholic senior centers that can use them. All of Pop's clothes have been given away.
We kept one of the crucifixes and will be giving the large one to his brother who is dying of cancer. Dear C. is leaving on Tuesday to travel to visit two of Pop's brothers who live up North. Brother F. has just been brought under the care of Hospice and Brother J. has a bad heart condition. It's important that she get to see them sooner rather than later.
I liked what Monseigneur had to say about Pop growing up on a farm where family members were taken in when needed. There was plenty of food and a large house to take in relatives who were sick or having a bad time of some sort. This was the essence of the nuclear family that cared for each other. How fortunate Pop was to grow up where family mattered so much. Sadly, people are scattered now and the family unit doesn't seem as cohesive. I liked that Monseigneur described Pop as a man of the earth and of the sea. He was both, carrying vegetables on a truck from the farm into New York City and then joining the Navy to be on landing crafts in the Pacific during WWII.
I feel a sense of time suspended because I think about the way things used to be before they were sick. Visits, phone calls, dinners, holidays--none of that anymore. I know that we are still grieving. Every day will get a little easier for us. I talked to Pop's sister about the loss of a child and her husband as well as parents and now two brothers. She said that she thinks of them as simply being away. And that brought to mind a poem that I recall from school by James Whitcomb Riley:
I cannot say, and will not say
that he is dead. He is just away.
With a cheery smile, and a wave of the hand,
he has wandered into an unknown land
and left us dreaming how very fair
it needs must be, since he lingers there.
And you-- oh, you, who the wildest yearn
for an old-time step, and the glad return,
think of him faring on, as dear
in the love of there as the love of here.
Think of him still as the same. I say,
he is not dead-- he is just away.