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February is a new month

February 1, 2013

I went to two wakes this week, could only make one funeral because they were at the same time. People over 80 generally don’t have a lot of people at their funeral because so many of their friends have already died. But the one I made it to was a full church. +Dorothea A. McElduff was the President of the Ladies of Charity, a member of the Order of the Sepulchre, so much a part of her parish, Guardian Angels, that her pastor in his homily said she was the real pastor! Her family was large, and acknowleged her as the matriarch and much loved. All there probably thought, as I did, ‘This would be a lovely turnout for me, but it would never happen.’ My brother Brian, at our brother Mike’s wake, said ‘I couldn’t get this many people for my funeral if I gave free beer!’

Only 8 years later we found that was true. But what Mike and Dorothea had in common was a busyness in doing for others, as well as family, that is not found in most people. Hearing those stories about Dorothea reminded me of Mike’s wake, where the line went out the door, and the book for people to sign was so full we thought we might have to get a second one. The stories people shared were delightful, and brought back so many memories, though with us because Mike lived in Maryland and most of us in Ohio (and me in NYC), many were things we hadn’t heard he was doing. I wonder if Dorothea’s family felt the same way, did they really know how much she did for others, since she was so present for them as well?

These are inspiring people, who give me the strength to continue working for good. Mike’s daughter Meredith is expecting her first child, to be named Michael Robert Drumm. She and Leon are going to be amazing parents, and have a great chorus of folk in heaven watching over them, as well.

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