after Terry

Last Friday afternoon, my late cousin Terry (1) was memorialized at Blessed Sacrament CatholicChurch in Harrisonburg Virginia, 8 miles northeast from where he lived in Bridgewater.  He ashes are slated to be scattered at his wife Irene’s family farm in Sherando, 35 miles due south from there.  In that sense, he’ll be like his parents, whose ashes were scattered on a farm: the King George’s farm where they’d lived for over 25 years.

The day following the service, his brothers and sisters and theirs who had come for the funeral took advantage of the bright sunshine to gather at a special place in the woods near Terry’s home.  It was here when in a wood cutting expedition by Terry, his brother Rick, and brother-in-law Ken (Linda’s husband), one of the cut trees fell across Ken’s chest, rendering multiple injuries from which he would not recover.  Hence Linda was already in deep grief as she watched her brother fade away.  Fortunately, their parents had instilled in all their children a deep faith, which each has continued to nurture.  Rick, a woodsman in every sense of the word, crafted an impressive cross out of that tree and erected it at the site of the fatal accident.  It was there where the clan gathered.

As you can see by their faces, that’s joy not grief you see. To be sure, each ache for the brother they’ve just lost, and for the husband/in-law/uncle who preceded him.  Yet God has given them this sunny day, the love of each other, and holds in his hand the people they can no longer touch.

The cross did not use up all the wood in that tree.  Rick took some of what was left and threw several beautiful bowls.  Thus, this family will continue to be fed by that tree, in faith and with food.

This fine family is my family, from whom I’ve been estranged by circumstances for over 40 years.  How grand the bonds are still there, however tragic the way we rediscovered them.  Not only are there many reasons for dives into the past, but there’s also hope for new experiences in the future.  As I told Linda in an email Wednesday: I just told an old high school writer friend of mine that these deep dives into the past bring these people back to life momentarily, at least in our memories, which is where they live after all.  Sometimes that comes with a regret that the memories are not richer.  We can remedy that going forth packing as much in as we can by the recently departed, and those we know now!  Like Carly Simon sang in “Anticipation”: “And stay right here ’cause these are the good old days”.  Looking forward to some good old days with Linda and my other rugrats.


  1. Ike B. cousin Terry. WordPress 11/1/22.

Published by rike52

I retired from the Rheumatology division of Michigan Medicine end of June '19 after 36 years there. Upon hitting Ann Arbor for the second time (I went to school here) it took me almost 8 months to meet Kathy, 17 months to buy her a house (on Harbal, where we still live), and 37 months to marry her. Kids never came, but we've been blessed with a crowd of colleagues, friends, neighbors and family that continues to grow. Lots of them are going to show up in this log eventually. Stay tuned.

2 thoughts on “after Terry

  1. I am so very sorry for your loss!
    I look forward to meeting your cousin Terry in heaven.
    Thank you for sharing – this is beautiful.



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