I attended the funeral service today of Greg’s aunt, who was a nun. Gathered together were her family of blood and her family of choice, as well as many others who’s lives she touched over the years she served in schools and hospitals.
She was 89, and her mind had started to slip in the last few years. I didn’t know her well enough to say for certain but I’m guessing she was aware that was happening early on and it must have been terrifying. But of course that’s the perspective of someone outside her belief system. Maybe with her faith she simply accepted it without question and with grace.
The beautiful St. Peters in Joplin was filled with people who remembered her from the many years she worked there. The breast care center at St. John’s hospital where she served was named after her some years ago. There’s a garden there dedicated to the memory of her mother.
She was the last of her generation, The last of a family of five brothers and two sisters.
I am so proud of Greg and how he conducted himself the last week and a half. When he got word she was nearing the end he took off to Omaha, where her order has a retirement facility. Greg was by her side for the days and nights, holding her hand and talking to her about anything pleasant, and assuring her of the love of her family, mentioning people by name. Greg was with her when she died.
It is an honor to attend the dying, but it is not easy. Some are more equipped to deal with such things than others. But it’s not easy for anyone. Greg simply knew it was a gift to be able to be present for those you love in times of need.
Sister lived her life such that many gathered today to celebrate it. Who among us could expect the same?