Monday, June 23, 2008


"I first met Peter Souza in 1964 when I arrived at St. Mary's Church."
So began the eulogy for my cousin, Trish.
For the next five minutes the priest conveyed to the congregated how long he had been friends with Peter's family. He had kept in touch with them long after after he was transferred to another church within the archdiocese. He had officiated at Pete and Trisha's wedding 31 years ago today. Now, he had returned to St. Mary's in Plymouth to say the funeral mass for Trish and for the Souza family. He had come to say goodbye.
I was speechless.
I cannot remember the last time that I was at a funeral mass where the priest/pastor/minister actually knew the deceased. I have a tendency to resent the familiar platitudes that are repeated ad nauseum by officiates who through no fault of their own have been asked to "say a few words" about someone they only know through written soundbites given by the grieving family.
Not this time.
I sat in the 5th row of the church, between the Souza and the Peterson families. I was silent as I listened to the priest's recollections of Pete, Trish and their family. I remembered Trish's smile and how she and her friends took my siblings and I to Duxbury Beach over the summer of 1976 when my Mom had broken her leg. I remembered family barbecues at Uncle Charlie's house, when we would play horseshoes or boccie all day long. I thought wistfully of Dad's family and how, out of all his brothers and sisters, we only really knew our cousins Charlie, Gail and Trish and Nadine, Barbara and Jennifer.
Now Trish was gone.
I thought of my own mother and realized that, at 50 years old, Trisha had outlived her Aunt by 4 years. I looked over at Trish's son Michael and I shared his pain. At 22, he is too young to be burying his mother.
I sighed, holding back tears, alone in my thoughts.
Silently a hand slid into my left hand. Softly yet firmly, this gentle hand pulled mine onto her lap, where it rested. Then she put her head on my shoulder.
My daughter; quietly consoling me, said more with these simple acts of compassion than her words could ever convey.
Hands entwined, we sat together in shared silence.
And I was comforted.


Blogger Fox In Detox said...

Beautiful post friend, these tears are real. Again, my sympathies to you. Losing people is hard. Letting go is hard. It's nice to have family and friends around to console and share..and help with the hard stuff.

10:35 AM, June 23, 2008  
Blogger Cynthia said...

I always tell my girls that I love holding hands with them and that I hope that they'll never think of themselves as too old to hold hands with their mom.

You are a person of deep feeling. Your writing just flows when you write from this space.

A big hand squeeze to you, friend.

4:01 PM, June 23, 2008  
Blogger Letera said...

In agreement w/ both Fox and Cynthia. Your writing is very touching. You need to be a writer if you are not one. I would buy your book.
I am so sorry for your loss.

9:19 AM, June 24, 2008  

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