Life on Newark-Granville Road- life- real life, hard and challenging with beauty and reminders. The lessons of death are too prevalent these days. The universe, God, the powers that be are slowing me down today to reflect on how good it is to be here.
Family first- my mother's side of the family has had a terrible loss. Susie and Eric Smith (69 yrs old) were killed yesterday. Their car went off the road and struck a tree. They did not survive the surgeries. They were driving home to Hagerstown, MD from South Carolina. I don't know much more. I know when my mother called to tell me my world went spinning. Susie and Eric hosted countless family gatherings, danced at our weddings and shared all the details families share. She was my Mom's 1st cousin- my mother without any siblings counts her 1st cousins as siblings. Susie and Jeanne shared life in Hagerstown together for many many years- raising children, going to church, the pool, the club together - walking too and from one another's homes, catching up by phone when a part. They grew up not far from each other. Vacationing often together- sharing life, keeping company, debating and sighing, declaring and celebrating- living. And now she is gone. Eric her trusted companion, steady partner- our family dentist and kind soul- gone. My parents friends- more than family. What a loss- their daughter, son, son-in-law, grandchildren- I feel so deeply for them. Susie's brother, sister, sister-in-law- my heart aches. My home town, home church- the adults who danced, talked, served, cared for one another. It just doesn't seem possible that they are gone. Their energy will be missed.
I'm not sure when we'll go to support and mourn in Maryland- I want to get in the car now to hug my parents and relatives. To reflect and share and honor these lives. My sister is there and I'm grateful. Life on Newark-Granville Road is special, but there are days I want to be other places.
Today Don Wiper was laid to rest and his life celebrated and honored at First Presbyterian Granville. A life of service, influence and impact. A beautiful funeral with song and verse, reflection and words and people gathered to praise and give thanks for Don's life. Don's life and spirit that will be carried on by his family. Don welcomed me, taught me, supported my efforts at church and became my friend and Joe's friend in Granville. An early Granville attender of the Derby party. He introduced me to his daughter and wife and they became my friends. I am pleased to be here to celebrate his life and give thanks. Don will be missed.
The death of Cheri Mitchell devastated the Denison community and the Columbus arts world. I did not know Cheri well but well enough to be saddened by the loss of a giving, impactful, happy spirit that lifted up so many including her dear husband Frank Hassebrock. When I learned of the tragic accident I just could not get my head around how someone can be here one day and gone the next. Life does change in an instant and we must savor, soak it in, take it in, be grateful and giving. The opportunities are there- we must live our lives.
Today I ended up walking to work and I'm grateful. I heard church bells, the Denison Carillon played Moon River, I wore my rain boots and chatted with my sister and brother- told them I loved them. I went to work to keep moving forward on an effort I believe in that deserves attention and fulfills me- I'm grateful. Last night my kids all hugged and cared for me = sad for my loss. Our dinner was late and it didn't matter and everyone liked it. Joe joked that maybe we should always be starting when we sit down at the table. We laughed- he is the funniest in our house and thank goodness he is here with me.
All of these people no longer here on the earth will stay with me and their families. They all had amazing impacts in the way they lived their lives- the people they loved, the words they shared. Their life and death is in love and with life. This is what is happening in my life on Newark-Granville Road today- thanks for sharing. Thank you for keeping those in need in prayer and savoring this beautiful life we have.