Two long lives lived. Filled with big families and laughter and their share of heartache, like any life well-lived.
I’m sure they each had regrets. Sorrows shared and secret.
But my memories of both of them are full of light and laughter and wisdom and love.
Connie’s daughter, Gabrielle, is married to my father Bill. So Connie’s grandkids are my half-brothers and sister. We spent a lot of time with Connie’s tribe. Her distinctive laugh lives on in her children, for sure! And that smile, just look at it! It lit up a room.
Her sisters were Catholic nuns. She had the same type of quiet, calm faith I imagine nuns to have. A steady presence, a wise, loving and watchful eye.
Connie suffered from a stroke a while ago. That was the warning bell, a sign of what would come eventually. As it does to us all. Her family rallied around her, she worked hard and made good progress and earned more time here on Earth, with her tribe.
But last week she had another stroke, and this one was too strong. She succumbed last Friday, her family by her side.
PePa passed Sunday morning. He was my children’s grandfather.
He had also been in the hospital for a couple of weeks. We hoped he would rally, like he had so many times before in the last few of his 98 years.
He was also a man of faith. Deeply and justifiably proud of his family, his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
He always struck me as a Man among boys. He was like no other man I have ever met. There was something about him – the timbre of his voice, the twinkle in his eye.
I don’t know what he was like as a young man, he was already in his 80s by the time I met him. I’m sure he had mellowed.
He was a wise, intelligent man. Loved beyond measure by his family. Literally the heart and soul of the Woods Family. The heartbeat by which all other beats were measured.
I’m sad today.
Don’t want to write, or clean, or read, or work.
I think about the legacy these two left behind. Is there a message? A lesson to be learned? What didi Connie and PePa leave behind to guide us into the future?
Family is what comes to mind.
And love. Lots of love.
Time spent with those we love – meals shared, stories told, hugs given and received, differences aired and then put aside.
The gift these two souls were given was a long, fulfilled life. One that was lived fully and wholeheartedly. I never heard either one of them ever complain. I can’t say I ever heard either one say anything negative or hurtful about another person.
I’m sure they did. They were human, after all.
But the fact that I can’t recall ever hearing something like that says something about them. You and I both know people who we would easily recall their negativity as part of their character.
Perhaps the key to a long life then is to be positive. To love deeply and openly. To be thankful for what we have and who we have around us. To help one another. To forgive.
I know that is what will live on in the rest of us, thanks to Cornelia Grenier and Joseph Woods.