Above is a picture of a wood carving by Paul Constance
This past Thanksgiving time has been one of intense sorrow and of joy. The death of John Connelly, husband of my goddaughter and niece, Margie, and father of four wonderful adult children came a few days before Thanksgiving. It was incredibly sad but not unexpected since John has been battling a lethal form of cancer, with a ten percent survival rate, for the last seven months. John died early on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. When we gathered that night with our local families for dinner Jerry suggested after we said the blessing, that we go around the table and share a favorite John memory. It was very moving and very special.
When Senator Hubert Humphrey died in 1978 our dear friend Al Eisele was asked to contribute to the writing of his eulogy. ” He taught us how to live and he taught us how to die.” Al’s words to describe Senator Humphrey can so appropriately be applied to John’s final months. He was an inspiration to all who were fortunate enough to spend time with him.
On Thanksgiving Friday and Saturday there there were two gatherings of remembrance and a very moving mass liturgy. All these occasions were packed with those who wanted to show their love for John and their love and support for the Margie and the family.
On Thanksgiving Day, Jerry and I hosted eighteen of our nuclear family. We had two tables, one for the eleven “older” adults and one for the seven “younger” adults. It is so hard to believe that we no longer have any really young grandchildren. Meal prep is easy because everyone pitches in to help. We have some amazing culinary talent in our family. The dinner was a mix of yummy food and the special joy of being together. We missed those who could not be with us because of work, school, distance (Europe), other family commitments or the monster Covid.
Dinner started off with everyone sharing a happening in their lives that they are particularly grateful for. This sharing was very special. John’s too early death was a stark reminder of the value of each day, of taking nothing for granted. My mother was so proud of all her grandchildren. As she got older she frequently said how much she wanted to be around to see what her awesome grandchildren did with their many god given talents. I had two happenings that I recounted as occasions of thanks for me. Like my mother I talked about our precious nineteen grandchildren. I ended with words of thanksgiving for my beloved husband. Thanksgiving Friday was our 62nd wedding anniversary.