Becoming Holy

Until we meet again…

on October 21, 2014
Jordan's December Visit 059

Ed, Jordan and Rose~December ’13 Visit

What does it all mean? What is our journey here on earth if not a journey of change? Fall has always been the season that inspires me to want to become a better person~a better version of myself. It is also a time that calls to mind Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

There is a time for everything, but it doesn’t mean we will always be ready for the events that happen in our lives. This past year has held so much change and so much loss. We experienced temporary “loss” this past year as Jordan entered the Sisters of Life. In June, Sr. Jordan Rose, (who was then just Jordan) came home for her last visit before the Novitiate. It was so hard to have her for one week, knowing she would not set foot in our home for at least two years. We are blessed to get to travel to see her this Fall and then again a few times in her second year of novitiate, but there is something about knowing someone isn’t “coming home.”  Little did we know that sadness would come in a new form before the month was over.

 Just eight days after Jordan boarded the plane back to NYC, our brother-in-law, Ed, passed away unexpectedly of a heart attack. This was a tragic and incomprehensible event. We all know the day will come when we will die, but I think most of us expect it to be later rather than sooner. We expect some sort of “heads up” or pre-existing condition to soften the loss. This was not the case for Ed. He and Joe’s sister, Rose, had just celebrated their 40th Anniversary the December before.  He was retired and enjoying helping people out on projects. He was in good physical shape and nothing would have made us suspect our time with him was limited. 

This brings me back to my opening~what does it all mean? So much pain and suffering. Watching Joe’s sister mourn the loss of her husband, their three children hurting without their dad, and all the grandchildren wishing “Papa” was still here. I look at the loss and realize the what a tremendous gift Ed was. I cannot begin to describe the empty space he leaves behind. The gift of Ed to his family was beyond measure. He touched hearts and lives in many ways~this was made evident by the full church at Ed’s funeral and by the many cards, calls and visitors his family received. It remains evident as I see the many lives he touched in our community. It was not only his wife, children and grandchildren, but his siblings, nieces, nephews, friends, co-workers and people throughout our community.  We are each saddened at our loss.

It was hard that Jordan was not able to return for Ed’s funeral. We called her and gave her the news.  I know she immediately went to prayer on behalf of the family. This is what she wrote to us~

“I’ve been praying so much for you all, for Rose, for Uncle Ed, for Grandma and Grandpa…Grandma said the funeral was beautiful.  I’m so glad there was a great turn out. Ed was such a good man.  He really was. On the day of his funeral, I remembered how HE was the one who held me at Jennifer’s funeral.  I’ve always loved him because of that. Please let Rose know how much I love her and I’m praying for her.” 

You see almost 19 years before on the day of our little Jennifer Rose’s funeral, Jordan was only 4 years old. She was worn out by the events of the days between Jennifer’s leaving us and this day of her funeral Mass and burial. Somehow, before Mass began, Uncle Ed had scooped Jordan up and she fell asleep on his shoulder. She stayed asleep on his shoulder throughout the entire Mass and then again at the cemetery. That’s the kind of guy Ed was.  He didn’t need the spotlight. He stepped in quietly where needed and showed his love in unassuming ways. He made a huge impact on Jordan that day and he certainly was a grace for our family. I can still picture in my mind’s eye, that precious little four year old, in her bright orange flowered dress, sound asleep in Uncle Ed’s arms. 

Ed loved his nieces and nephews and enjoyed making kids laugh. He had a way of making you feel like you were very important when he spoke with you. Each of my children has “Uncle Ed” stories of special moments he spent with them. We were at lunch a few weeks ago and Max looked up at me and asked, “I wonder what Uncle Ed is the patron saint of?” I got a huge grin on my face as I realized that Max is still thinking about Uncle Ed and making connections between us on Earth and the saints in Heaven. I asked Max what he thought. “Fun.” Max replied.  I think Uncle Ed is the patron saint of fun.” Then he paused and added with a sparkle in his eye, “or pranks, or kids…or fun and pranks and kids!”  This instantly brought out stories from each of the kids and the special memories they shared with Uncle Ed.

I, for one, could use a little more fun in life.  Especially this time of year, I get caught up in loss and grief and remembering. So today, I think I will have a chat with Uncle Ed, the patron saint of Fun, and ask him to help me out!  Today is Ed’s 65th birthday and I’m pretty sure there is an amazing party going on in Heaven.  I selfishly imagine that Jennifer found Uncle Ed right away (along with his parents and family who got there ahead of him) and that she has been spending lots of time with him. I’ve no doubt those in Heaven are having the most amazing celebration of Ed’s life!   I pray that all of us who are missing Ed will take a moment and celebrate his life by doing something he would have done.  Laugh. Tell a joke. Pay undivided attention to a child. Play with a little person in your life. Reach out in a quiet way to someone who needs you. Remember to have fun. 

he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.”~Revelation 21:4

Happy Birthday, Ed!  We love you and miss you. Until we meet again…

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5 responses to “Until we meet again…

  1. Marilyn Lerandeau says:

    What a beautiful tribute to Ed. Little Max knew his uncle well. Patron Saint of Fun and Pranks. I can just see him approving with a huge smile and a twinkle of the eyes. Happy Birthday Ed. So glad I got you call you friend.

  2. Wendy Nuxoll says:

    Charlene, this is so beautiful! I LOVE Max’s thoughts on his wonderful Uncle Ed – “the patron saint of fun and pranks and kids.” That is so great!!!!! Thank you for sharing, dear one. We love you all.

  3. Fr. Bruce Wren says:

    Wow, impressive, Charlene. And one can clearly see that Max has the eye of a true theologian: nothing abstract of fake about that: who but an honest child could have come up with “Patron Saint of Fun”? b

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