Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Churches I have visted: St. Joseph Catholic Church - Pittsfield, MA

As I recently shared in another blog, I traveled to Pittsfield, Massachusetts a couple of weeks ago to attend my 35th reunion at Miss Hall's School.  I flew home Sunday afternoon, and being Pentecost Sunday, I wanted to attend Mass in Pittsfield.  The church, St. Joseph Catholic Church - The Mother Church of the Berkshires, was a few blocks from my hotel, and so I walked! That was something new for me, and had it not been chilly and misty, I would have enjoyed the walk! Here are the three photos I took on my iPhone:

The Mass was lovely.  Msgr. Shershanovich's homily was thought provoking and meaningful.  I wish the day had been sunny and clear, but the church was very warm and welcoming on such a cold and dreary day.  It seemed to me that Christ's light was definitely shining here.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Russell receiving the 2013 Marianist Service Award

Last night, Russell received one of the 2013 Marianist Service Awards. "The Marianist Service Award was established in 1987 by Marianists working at the University of Dayton. Each year, this award honors two full-time staff whose behavior, over a significant number of years, is congruent with the University's Catholic and Marianist character. Nominations are made by the vowed Marianists who work on campus, members of the Rector's Council and previous award recipients"

The first video is Fr. Jim Fitz, Rector of the University of Dayton, presenting Russell with the award:


This second video is of Dr. Joeseph Saliba, Provost of the Unviersity of Dayton, making some commentsabout Russell receiving the award:

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Another Stroll Down Memory Lane

I flew to Western Massachusetts last weekend to attend my 35th “high school” reunion. To say that both my heart and my mind were filled with sentimental nostalgia is somewhat of an understatement. Driving into Pittsfield from Boston was fun. My friend Caroline and I spent the time catching up and comparing notes as to what our expectations were. As we turned off the Mass. Turnpike and headed north towards Pittsfield, things seemed to be vaguely familiar. It was as if our memories were starting to awaken after a long slumber.

Memory is a wonderful thing… when it works. My Mother always told me that I had an incredible memory, and I would agree for the most part. Yet it is always somewhat surprising when I hear another person’s perception of a shared memory that contradicts my own memory. For example, my sister and I were recently regaling my cousin about the time she dumped a milkshake on my head. I had done something equally obnoxious to warrant such retaliation from her. We both agreed on that. We both had that same memory. Yet we differed on “where” it happened. I am certain that it happened at Wendy’s. She is certain that it happened at Arby’s. We both think we’re right, yet clearly, one of us is wrong. Which is it? Personally, I don’t really care. It’s just slightly annoying to spend time wondering who’s right and whose wrong, when I know I’m right. I’m kidding… because in reality, I have no clue, and have digressed.

As I sat at the opening banquet last Friday night, filled with wonder at being back at the school that I love so much, a place where I found myself, a place that saved my life, I looked around the room, filled with fellow alumni… who all appeared to love the School as much as I did. And the stories that were told… some familiar, some “new to me” resulted in laughter and maybe a few tears. Of course there were the kind of variations that come with gossip and rumors. Laughing at our antics in days gone by, I was vaguely aware of feeling… some sort of surprise when I heard of something that had happened right under my nose. “That really happened?” I’d ask. And apparently it did. Of course, I realize that it’s impossible to know everything that happened. And it was fun to see other’s having similar reactions. Someone described it as gaps in our memories coming alive, almost like finding missing pixels from a digitized photo… one blurry, now a bit more clear.

The weekend flew by. It was a wonderful time- reconnecting with friends… connecting with new friends, who have in common a very special place called Miss Hall’s School. It's comforting to know, that we change, places change... many things stay the same.  With appreciation for the many changes we discovered, there was still so much that had stayed the same.  And for that, I was and am incredibly grateful.

Miss Hall's School Alma Mater

In lofty splendor, stand the Berkshires fair,
And there we know no sorrow, pain or care,
For there we always happy are -- and free.
Oh loyal Gold and Blue we sing to thee.

In after years when we are far apart,
Thy name will always ring in every heart.
No matter how far distant we may be,
Oh MHS we will remember thee.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Missing my Mother...

Many moons have passed since my last post last October.  And much has happened.  I've not had the heart or energy to blog about the death of my Mother on November 11, 2012.  Yet with Mother's Day approaching, and all the reminders about celebrating Mom's, I'm compelled to finally write this.

Her death was a blessing, to be sure.  And it is a comfort to know that she was no longer afraid... she smiled everytime we prayed with her during those last weeks.  That in itself was worth everything, because she had been so fearful.  We are so thankful to Pastor Steve Becker and to the Chaplains from Hospice.  They helped her so very very much.  And thankfully, she is finally free from the terrible pain that she suffered from for so very long.

The staff at Oak Creek Terrace, the nurses and aides, led by Carla Becker from Hospice of Greater Dayton were fabulous.  Our family is so incredibly grateful to them for the care and support they gave to Mother, and to all of us.

Watching her slip away that last day was difficult.  I couldn't bear to leave her side, yet I wanted to escape.  We played music for her, especially her favorite: "Somewhere" by Barbra Streisand.  She adored that song, and begged us to play it for her when she was on her deathbed.  And we did.  It was difficult, but it's what she wanted, and we were determined to do anything for her.  We planned her her memorial service, and I think she would have been pleased.  Pastor Steve presided, and we had traditional readings and music.  And we included some other things that I know in my heart would have pleased her very much.  We played "Somewhere" by Barbra Streisand at the end of the service and there were bowls of Milky Way bars for people to enjoy.  Milky Way bars were Mother's favorite, and the main staple of her diet for the last couple of years.  And now that's she's free, I'm sure she's in heaven, soaring freely along the milky way!

From Mother's Funeral:

Memorial Service for Julia Chace Fisher Garretson

Monday, November 19th, 2012, 2:00 p.m.
Woodland Cemetery Mausoleum Chapel
Dayton, Ohio

Pastor Stephan E. Becker - Officiating

Julia Garretson, age 81, died at Oak Creek Terrace in Kettering, Ohio, on Sunday, November 12, 2012.
Born April 30, 1931, in Dayton, Ohio, she attended Oakwood High School and graduated from The Masters School, Dobb's Ferry, New York in 1950. She also attended Mount Vernon College in Washington, DC.  She was a loving and devoted mother and grandmother who will be greatly missed by all who knew her.  She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, Jack S. Garretson and her sister, Elizabeth F. Bruce. Julia is survived by her daughters, Annie G. (Russell) Milliron and Lilli G. (Philip) Lingle; grandchildren, Garretson C. Lingle and Logan D. Lingle; cousin, Anthony Haswell and many nieces and nephews.
The family would like to thank the staff of Oak Creek Terrace for their loving and compassionate care of Julia.  Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of Dayton, 324 Wilmington Ave., Dayton, OH 45420 or the Humane Society of Greater Dayton, 1661 Nicholas Rd., Dayton, OH 45417.
Irish Blessing
May the road rise to meet you,
may the wind be ever at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and the rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of his hand.

Order of Service

Prelude……………………………………...……“Be Not Afraid” ………………………………………………....“Here I Am Lord” ……………………………………………….“On Eagle’s Wings”
……………………………………………….“The Lord’s Prayer”

……………………………….Ecclesiastes 3:1-11, Russell Milliron
………………………………………..Romans 5:5-11, Mary Clark
……………………………..Romans 8:31-39, Garretson C. Lingle

……………………………John 14:1-6, Pastor Stephan E. Becker

Eulogy…………………………………Pastor Stephan E. Becker

Serenity Prayer

God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

Recessional……………………“Somewhere” By Barbra Streisand and “I will see you in my dreams” by Joe Brown

I miss her.  I miss her desperately.  Knowing this, admitting this, would make her smile, and most likely say something like "I told you so".  And that's ok.. because she would be right. I don't want to be maudlin... I don't feel maudlin.  There's an underlying sadness, but it doesn't consume me.  When it wells up, I let it out.  We're going to the cemetery this weekend with flowers.  It's been awhile, and that's ok.  Because she's not really there.  But we'll take flowers and make it pretty... she'd like that!

I love you Mother.  You are in my heart today, and always.  Happy Mother's Day