Monday, January 31, 2011

Wherever I Am

Those whom we love and lose are no longer where they were before. They are now wherever we are. – St. John Chrysostom
Since my Dad died I have experienced a variety of emotions. Certainly there has been grief, sadness and loss. There has also been a measure of peace. While Dad loved life to the very end, his last few weeks were not easy. Living far away, I jumped every time the phone rang. While I didn't necessarily recognize it at the time, much of my emotional energy went into worrying. I worried that he would catch a virus or sustain an injury. I worried that he wouldn't be able to stay home like he wished. Much of his situation was out my ~ or anyone's ~ control.

There is peace in knowing that he is no longer suffering. There is also peace in knowing, as St. John Chrysoston affirms, he is now wherever I am. I laughed the other day when something funny happened that I know he would appreciate. I felt him laughing with me. I see his face when I close my eyes to go to sleep at night. Often when I see him in this way he is smiling. This tells me that wherever he is, whatever he is experiencing, there is joy.

I would trade all of this in a minute to have him back ~ healthy and robust. Yet, I know this is not possible. So I give thanks. Even though he is no longer where he was before, he is now wherever I am.

Monday, January 24, 2011

I Guess It's Time

I'd been putting it off, but I guess it is time to get back to blogging. Getting back to blogging requires me to acknowledge what has happened since I last blogged. My loving, handsome, courageous Dad died after living bravely with ALS since December 2009. Here is the last picture we had taken together:

And here is the obituary that makes it all so final:

Howard Warren Gary

Date of Death: December 18, 2010

Date of Birth: February 7, 1950

Biography:

Howard Warren Gary, 60, of East Poland, died on Saturday, December 18th at his home surrounded by loving family and friends.

He was born on February 7, 1950, the son of Wilfred and Dorothy (Thurston) Gary. He graduated from Edward Little 1968 and after high school he joined the Armed Forces where he received an honorable discharge Air National Guard 1974. He was a lineman for Verizon (previously New England Telephone and Nynex) from 1970 – 1996 and then he worked for Dead River Oil Company.

He dedicated his life to Empire Grove Campmeeting Association as manager and groundskeeper for more than 25 years. His multi-talents were inspiring to all who knew him and showed his vibrancy of living. He offered his stability, reverence, spirituality, and creativity with his own sense of humor. He was also part of the Recreation Dept., and involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Androscoggin County.

Howard could build anything and everything. He enjoyed spending time with his children and grandchildren and with his wife, with whom he built a house. He also enjoyed playing cribbage, hiking & camping, fishing with his friends, and Ice Hockey games

He was predeceased by his parents; Wilfred and Dorothy (Thurston) Gary, and his brother Richard Gary.

He is survived by his wife Deborah (Estes) Gary, daughter Krista (Gary) Atwood, three step daughters; Katie (McAllister) Libby, Kristina (McAllister) Wilson, Kayla Nowell, three sons-in-law; Gary Atwood, Corey Libby, and Eric Wilson, brother Arthur Gary, two grandsons; Benjamin Atwood, Cooper Libby, and many cousins, nieces, nephews and friends

A Memorial Service will be scheduled for the early summer.

Donations in Howard’s honor may be made to Empire Grove United Methodist Campmeeting Association PO Box 35, East Poland, ME 04230, or to The ALS Association Northern New England Chapter, The Concord Center 10 Ferry Street, Suite 438 Concord, NH 03301

Love you Dad.... Can't believe you're gone.