I can not close out this year without explaining my absence.

I finished classes at the end of July and looked forward to seven weeks of summer. I did not spend my time as I had planned. On August 11 we got a call from Julie that Greg had died. She came home from a weekend trip to find him gone. Words do not do justice to the impact this has had on our lives.

JGC003

This was my favorite photo of Greg. It was taken the year the girls and I stayed at my Mom’s and took care of Zeus while she and Bob went to Italy. It was October. On a mild weekend evening, Greg, Julie and the kids came up for dinner. I heated up the pool. Greg was always really good with the kids. They loved him and have very fond memories of him.

In October I lost my cousin, Mary. She was a single mom and left behind a 12 year old son, Brendon.

Mary

Mary had battled breast cancer for about three years. I was able to deliver her eulogy. It was a group effort really. I asked everyone to give me memories to include.

I think we are still trying to return to “normal”. We’ve just been trying to fit in everyday life and prior commitments while trying to process the body blows and doing what we could (which feels like not nearly enough) to help. As hard as these two deaths have been, I am grateful for the way the family in both instances handled things. I was speaking with a woman today that lost her father recently. Her mother and sister are not handling things well and instead of being a support to one another, they are hurting each other. She is dealing with the stress of losing her father alone.

We sang the hymn today at church that comes from this poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson:

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkenss of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

I don’t think I have ever sung that hymn and meant it more.

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