Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Life Marches On

Lately, I have been feeling thoughtful and philosophical. No, I have not been sad or depressed but I have been assessing about how life proceeds. Of course, I have my spiritual beliefs which provide me the cushion and the comfort to take a look.

This has been a fascinating year because it is the last year my daughter will be home full time. She is off with her Dad in New York to audition for the theater program at NYU and to take a gander at Yale. She has applied to these schools among several others and her grades and her SAT scores make her competitive. Her extra curricular activities make her interesting. I am amazed that our family has come to this point. My grandparents were English immigrants who came to America with no money and no education. I don't know a lot about my Mom's family except my Grandma on that side amazingly received a 4 year college degree in the 1920's. Before that there was a loss of land and money during the depression and struggles. All of my relatives going way back have strived for a better life by crossing oceans, traveling up rivers, and hacking their way westward. I am grateful to them because they set up a fantastic future for their great great grand children.

This is what has hit me this past month. Each of us individually is just a small cog in the giant network of human existence. We each have a responsibility to give our children a good basis from which to launch their own lives. This is the greatest gift we can give so that our future family members can carry on the legacy.

This past couple of months have brought several deaths in Helena which have triggered my thoughts. One of my best friend's Dad died within the last two weeks. He had his struggles in life but he overcame them, had a solid marriage and spiritual life and he left behind my friend and her sisters. She is highly educated, successful and a Christian and her positive influence has touched countless souls. My mother went to one of her best friend's funeral on Monday in the glorious St. Helena Cathedral. Again, this woman left behind remarkable children and friends who were touched by her. My husband's mother's best friend died at Christmas. I knew her from my church; my mother knew this woman from childhood in Montana; she left behind two daughters my age who have successful lives and terrfic children. And there were other deaths--my Dad's former boss and the husband of another of my Mom's friends.

I keep thinking about how tough this must be on my Mom in a short couple of months since these people were all around her age. But all of these folks had great lives and had reached the end. We will all end up in this place some day. It is our children and their children who will continue. How satisfying to know we have planted positive seeds to sprout in the years we are no longer in earthly life.

My brother and his wife, I am proud to say, have planted the seeds of my family's future legacy and they have done a wonderful job with their three sons. My nephews are all bright, happily married, educated, and successful, not to mention good looking, too! Amazing to me is that on teacher salaries, my brother and his wife launched all three of their boys through college, into marriages and into home ownership. Yes, my three nephews, all still in their 20's, own nice homes in Montana. My English grandparents would be so happy because this is exactly what they had hoped for and envisioned when they escaped the Charles Dickens orphanage/work house in England to come to the American west.

My English Grandpa, Samuel, would be especially proud because yesterday in Helena, his great great grandson was born. And his name is "Samuel Rivers". My English Grandma Lily Isabel would also be especially happy to see that her great great grandaughter, Isabel is going to be a very good big sister.

My mother, who sadly attended the funeral mass of her good friend on Monday, went to the hospital to greet her new great grandson on Tuesday.

Life marches on.

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My nephew Rick, Isabel Brooke (age 3), and Samuel Rivers