Celebrating a Life

Yessterday we buried my Aunt Bunny. After a two-day wake during which family and friends from came from far and wide to pay their respects, we gathered at St. Clare’s Church in Staten Island for the funeral mass, following which a caravan of cars followed the hearse to Resurrection Cemetary, where my aunt was buried alongside her husband (Uncle Blaise). While there, we visited the graves of my father and uncles Bob and Michael, all of whom are buried within about 100 feet of each other.

We then regrouped at the condo Aunt Bunny shared with Aunt Carol, my father’s other sister. Family and friends spent the whole day there, eating, drinking, talking, telling stories and just being together.

Later in the afternoon, someone brought out some games and several groups sat at various tables playing cards or scattegories or something else. At one point, Aunt Carol turned to me and said, somewhat troubled, “Why are we doing this? Look people are laughing and having a good time. How can we be doing this today?”

My answer was swift and firm: Because Aunt Bunny would have wanted this. Because she would have been happy to see all of us here together. Because she would have wanted us to celebrate and enjoy our love for her and each other. We are all deeply pained at the loss and we have all cried a lot over the last weeks, and especially the last few days. But she would not have wanted us to sit all day glum and silent; that would have done her no honor.

As I answered her, Aunt Carol nodded her head in agreement. She, who knew her sister better than anyone, knew that Aunt Bunny would have wanted exactly what went on yesterday: the family she loved gathered in love and enjoying each other’s company.


3 thoughts on “Celebrating a Life

  1. “This week, we were both struggling with death among people we care about.” – Mark Osler

    “Death is really our full communion with God.” – Susan Stabile

    A communion we struggle to embrace as death is often considered the requirement – though a communion offered in life, when we willingly die to self. How blessed are we to have come to know Aunt Bunny and Katherine Darmer through Susan and Mark personally sharing (their struggle) celebrations of life. The realm of our communion with God transcends Heaven and earth, as we are called to the communion of (s)aints – called by faith, to action and to share as openly…

    From “Consoling and Being Consoled” – Creo en Dios! 02-06-12

    “What blasted in my mind when Fr. Dale asked that final question was the realization that being part of a faith community (and perhaps other communities as well) means accepting consolation in one’s own suffering as well as consoling others.

    For many of us, consoling others is a whole lot easier than accepting consolation. We are comfortable being with others in their suffering, supporting with our words or presence, doing things to take care of others. But for many of us, letting others into our suffering, being willing to put ourselves into the hands of another, letting them take care of us, is much less comfortable. Oh, most of us can do that with one or two of our closest friends, but accepting it from others beyond that seems to make us more vulnerable than we quite like.”

    Having shed not a tear for the passing of my parents, consoled by the blessing of their lives in mine, brings forth my tears when introduced to the difficult moments and sorrow experienced by others – who willing share…

    I pray we all have an Aunt Bunny to cherish in memoriam and a Katherine [whose (s)aintly life never touched ours] to encourage us during each new today – in faith, to embrace the unconditional love God speaks of and, filled with hope, act lovingly towards all of our brothers and sisters.

    “God takes us all as he finds us and can work with that, whatever it is. The related point is that our own measure of success in our spiritual lives is not: were we as much Francis as Francis, or as much Thomas More as Thomas More. It is, rather, how did we use the particular gifts God gave us.” – Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR,
    – Creo en dios!

    Reflecting on smiles like Katherine’s, Susan’s, Mark’s, my parent’s and others greet me each morning – My morning tears I cherish, for they assure invitation into “…our full communion with God.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s