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November is difficult in my family

December 7, 2013

My mom’s parents both died on November 26th, ten years apart from each other, before she even met my father, when she was 6 and 16 years old. So when we were growing up, that was something vulnerable in our all powerful mom. When she had a stroke in 1981, it was November and my sister Mary Kay would go see her every day, with the baby (Jacob) and sometimes the older children (Amy and Eric), telling her what day it was, what the weather was like, and any details of her life that might interest Mom. When it got close to the 26th, she stopped telling her the date, as Mom had always said she thought she would die on that same date. Mike, the eldest, came to visit and she came out of the coma and lived with Mary Kay and the kids for many more years. She died in 1990 on Mary Kay’s birthday in January, but that’s another story.
Then my brother Tim (the youngest) got cancer of the rectum and Bri (2nd oldest, but he smoked) got lung cancer and both died in November, one on Nov. 3rd (the day after Mom’s birthday) and one, the year after, on Nov. 13th, the day before his 55th birthday. Mary Kay told the rest of us not to die in November, that was enough!
A friend, Mary Nerney, CND, died Nov. 27th this year. I went to her funeral Mass today. Full church, what a celebration! She donated her body to science and had worked for justice and peace all her life, and you could tell by the sendoff. Thanks to all who planned it, the readings were beautiful and the prayer of the faithful especially touched me, calling on us all to continue the work for peace and justice, mercy and compassion that Mary had done. Great challenge, thank you Mary!

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