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The web of life


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Recently, the mother of a long time friend of ours died. Hazel had lived a full life, was a classy lady, met her husband at 16 and married at 18, had one son, Richard, many grandchildren and great grandchildren. She never complained. Was always smiling. Loved being around young people. Someone you would be proud to know.


Richard was in the hospital with a blood infection when she died. Luckly, her grandson and his wife were with her till the end.


Then the planning began for her visitation and memorial service. Grandchildren live in Arkansas, Colorado, Alabama and here in Nashville. When I started thinking about all of the connections related to Hazel it became clear that life is really a web. Lines of connection cross both states and time. Friends gathered around Richard and his family to offer support, meals, bedrooms and doing what may be the most important thing in life: Showing up.


At her visitation we looked at collages of hundreds of photos. Also displayed was some of her original art. She enjoyed painting and golf. I listened to others telling stories from the past. There were tears and laughter mixed together.


The following day, several of us from Nashville rode over to Jasonville, IN for the graveside service. It was a celebration of Hazels life and a reminder that for Christians, life here ends but there is an eternal home waiting. Her grandson led in singing several familiar hymns.


After the service, we met in the "Boy Scout House" which was a community center building where the Boy Scouts meet. Family and friends had a chance to visit, renew old friendships, build new relationships and just "be there" for the family.


Life in small town in rural, Southern Illinois may not be different than where you live. I hope that is true. I feel blessed to have lived here for 34 years.

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Glad so many people "showed up". We often lament that we don't do enough of it, getting together that is, life just goes on unabated. It often takes an occasion of this magnitude to remind us of how valuable community is, and of people being there for one another. I'm reminded of Gleno's refrain: "Life is great. Participate!". I've really made an effort to internalize this in my own life in as many ways as I can, and I know I'm better off as a result.


As for Hazel's family, I'm sorry for their loss (and yours). Sounds like they've definitely got the gratitude thing down.


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