Hellos and goodbyes

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Last week was a beginnings and endings kind of a week.

On Wednesday morning, we at The Dale said goodbye to our dear friend Mike during a memorial service. Tears we shed and stories were shared. While the loss of Mike still seems surreal to me and others, communal grieving was a necessary and helpful part of the process of letting him go.

On Wednesday afternoon, a few of us went down to the shores of Lake Ontario and participated in the baptism of our friend Kim. It was her desire to be baptized outside, and then to have a tea party on the beach to begin this new stage in her life. So that’s exactly what we did.

On Thursday morning my cousin Laura gave birth to a baby boy, and named him Clarke Thomas. Clarke is the name of our grandfather who died when I was an infant, before Laura was born. We have heard so many wonderful things about this man over the years, and I wish that my sister, cousins, and I had the chance to get to know him. Thomas is the name of our cousin who died in a car accident when he was 11, along with his sister Meredith who was 8. I’ve written about them here.

On Friday morning I attended a memorial service for my great-aunt Kathrine, who recently passed away at the age of 93. Many, many members of her immediate and extended family, as well as a large number of friends gathered to remember her life and celebrate her legacy of love. I will always remember Aunt Kathrine for her thoughtfulness in the form of birthday cards- nearly every year, the first of my birthday cards to arrive in the mail would be from her. This is astonishing, given that she had several grandchildren of her own, let alone all her grand-nieces and nephews!

While I’m still processing all that happened last week, I am struck by the beauty of welcoming new life in the midst of saying goodbye those who have died. In particular, I’m struck by Clarke Thomas, this new little creature, who is named for two beloved people to whom our family has had to say goodbye.

Hello to new life! The new, baptized life of Kim. The new presence of Clarke Thomas, as well as Peyton, Julie and Rosslyn (all born this year into the extended Moon family!)

Good bye to our beloveds. Goodbye Mike, you larger than life character. Good bye Aunt Kathrine, also larger than life in your own gentle way.

Last week really was a beginnings and endings kind of week.

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