Archive for the ‘Grief’ Tag

The Fourteenth   2 comments

Bonny's Grave January 21, 2020

Above:  Bonny’s Grave, St. Gregory the Great Episcopal Church, Athens, Georgia, January 21, 2020

Photographer = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The fourteenth day of any month has become painful for me.  February 14 (St. Valentine’s Day) has become almost unbearable.

Consider these facts, O reader:

  1. Bonny moved into the apartment upstairs from mine on February 14, 2013.  I had helped to make the arrangements as she was preparing to leave the mental hospital in Augusta, Georgia.  Getting her back to Athens (where she had lived since the early 1990s) and around familiar faces was important.
  2. Bonny’s initials were “BOT.”  Every year, I bought her a small box of chocolates.  My favorite top was the one with an image of a robot and the text, “I LOVE YOU A BOT.”
  3. Barbara Futch, my maternal grandmother, died on August 14, 2019.
  4. Bonny died on October 14, 2019.
  5. My new upstairs neighbors claimed Bonny’s former apartment yesterday.  They have started moving boxes, et cetera, upstairs.

I was not celebrating yesterday.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

FEBRUARY 15, 2020 COMMON ERA

Posted February 15, 2020 by neatnik2009 in Bonny Thomas (1965-2019)

Tagged with , ,

Feast of the Confession of St. Martha of Bethany (March 8-April 11)   Leave a comment

Above:  Icon of the Raising of Lazarus

Image in the Public Domain

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  An Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days is one of my hobbies, not a calendar of observances with any force or a popular following.  It does, however, constitute a forum to which to propose proper additions to church calendars.

Much of the Western Church observes January 18 as the Feast of the Confession of St. Peter the Apostle, the rock upon which Christ built the Church.  (Just think, O reader; I used to be a Protestant boy!  My Catholic tendencies must be inherent.)  The celebration of that feast is appropriate.  The Church does not neglect St. Martha of Bethany, either.  In The Episcopal Church, for example, she shares a feast with her sister (St. Mary) and her brother (St. Lazarus) on July 29.

There is no Feast of the Confession of St. Martha of Bethany, corresponding to the Petrine feast, however.  That constitutes an omission.  I correct that omission somewhat here at my Ecumenical Calendar as of today.  I hereby define the Sunday immediately prior to Palm/Passion Sunday as the Feast of the Confession of St. Martha of Bethany.  The reason for the temporal definition is the chronology inside the Gospel of John.

This post rests primarily on John 11:20-27, St. Martha’s confession of faith in her friend, Jesus, as

the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.

The combination of grief, confidence, and faith is striking.  It is one with which many people identify.  It is one that has become increasingly relevant in my life during the last few months, as I have dealt with two deaths.

Faith frequently shines brightly in the spiritual darkness and exists alongside grief.  Faith enables people to cope with their grief and helps them to see the path through the darkness.  We need to grieve, but we also need to move forward.  We will not move forward alone, for God is with us.  If we are fortunate, so are other people, as well as at least one pet.

++++++++++

Loving God, who became incarnate as Jesus of Nazareth

and enjoyed the friendship of Saints Mary, Martha, and Lazarus of Bethany:

We thank you for the faith of St. Martha, who understood that

you were the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who was coming into the world.

May we confess with our lips and our lives our faith in you,

the Incarnate, crucified, and resurrected Son of God, and draw others to you;

In the Name of God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Jeremiah 8:18-23

Psalm 142

1 Corinthians 15:12-28

John 11:1-44

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JANUARY 18, 2020 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE CONFESSION OF SAINT PETER THE APOSTLE

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Christmas, Joy, and Grief   7 comments

Above:  Part of the Christmas Village I Assembled on My Coffee Table, December 20, 2019

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Advent and Christmas are supposed to be happy times, are they not?

They have been for me.  Through last year I found December and the first five days of January to be an almost magical, but definitely sweet period of time.  It was not about presents, whether giving or receiving them.  No, the time was inherently joyous.

This year, however, I have worked harder than usual to find the joy.  My experience has been bittersweet because of two recent deaths–those of Bonny and my grandmother.  I have joined the ranks of those for whom this season is mostly blue.

My prayer for all of us who feel this pain is that, as we work through our grief, is that we will know the peace of God, present with us.  Our feelings may be irrational, but they are also real.  For those of us who strive to be as fact-driven as possible, the reality of emotions we know to be irrational and stubborn is especially is especially difficult to reconcile.  Guilt we know to be misplaced remains a burden.  We cannot deliver ourselves from it.  No, we must turn it over to God.  Yet it persists.

We are all broken; that is the human condition.  We are all broken.  Some of us seem not to know that.  Others of us know it better than others.  We are all broken.  May we trust in God and be kind to each other and ourselves.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 22, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT, YEAR A

THE FEAST OF FREDERICK AND WILLIAM TEMPLE, ARCHBISHOPS OF CANTERBURY

THE FEAST OF SAINTS CHAEREMON AND ISCHYRION, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS, CIRCA 250

THE FEAST OF CHICO MENDES, “GANDHI OF THE AMAZON”

THE FEAST OF HENRY BUDD, FIRST ANGLICAN NATIVE PRIEST IN NORTH AMERICA; MISSIONARY TO THE CREE NATION

THE FEAST OF ISAAC HECKER, FOUNDER OF THE MISSIONARY SOCIETY OF SAINT PAUL THE APOSTLE

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Posted December 22, 2019 by neatnik2009 in Bonny Thomas (1965-2019)

Tagged with , , ,

Reflections on the Possessions of the Deceased   2 comments

I have helped to clean out two apartments of deceased people since the middle of August.

Last August, in Americus, Georgia, I did much of the cleaning out of the apartment of my maternal grandmother, Barbara Futch, who died at the age of 89 years.  My grandmother was aware that she was leaving much–especially clothing, as well as tubes and bottles of various creams and pills–for others to go through.  However, she lacked the energy level to dispose of more of it than she did.

I knew Bonny Thomas for over a decade.  I also understood that she had a mental illness.  Bonny, under the influence of that illness, became the fifth victim of a police-involved shooting in Athens-Clarke County, since March 2019.  I also knew a compassionate, vivacious woman who had a whimsical side and enjoyed watching films noir with me as we ate pizza and drank coke, and who liked to watch Columbo episodes with me as we at Hamburger Helper.  When she died, on October 14, one pillar of my world collapsed.

Yesterday, a few members (just enough to be about right–not too few, not too many) of my parish and I emptied Bonny’s apartment.  (Her family had taken the last of what they wanted a few days prior.)  Bonny had died, never to enter her apartment or mine again, but her possessions remained.  Most of them have gone to benefit a local charity that helps battered women.

Life is short and precious.  Much of it consists of that which is intangible, which is more important that the majority of that which is tangible.  Nevertheless, packing up and deciding what to do with the possessions of the deceased is an uncomfortable task.  It is also a tangible reminder of that person’s departure.  Completing that task can simultaneously be comforting and sad.  On one hand, the task is done; one can move on from no-longer unfinished business now.  Yet the emotions of loss can come to the fore.

I understand the Roman Catholic fixation on relics of saints.  After all, I keep relics of friends and relatives.  I have two chests and one tall bookcase full of photographs, school annuals, documents, books, et cetera.  That which is tangible, despite being less important than that which is intangible, has power.  The deceased have moved on, but an object one can hold has sentimental value.   Now my archives include relics of Bonny Thomas.  But if I could have her back, I would, of course.

One day (not any time soon, I hope; I love life) my turn to be the deceased will come.  Others will have the responsibility of disposing of my worldly possessions.  I am preparing for that day, with the intention that their task will require just a few hours–the more the helping hands, the fewer the hours.  I live comfortably in about 600 square feet.  My abode has relatively large empty areas in it.  Yet I review my possessions periodically and ask if I should donate to a thrift store or give to a person.  After all, they should be possessions; they should not possess me.  I do not want them to become a burden to anyone, including me.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 22, 2019 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF ROBERT SEAGRAVE, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF DITLEF GEORGSON RISTAD, NORWEGIAN-AMERICAN LUTHERAN MINISTER, HYMN TRANSLATOR, LITURGIST, AND EDUCATOR

Loss and Transition   5 comments

I have lost two family members recently.

Barbara Futch, my maternal grandmother, died of natural causes at the age of 89 years, in Albany, Georgia, on August 14.  Her death affected me, mostly after I completed the rush of physical activity during the week following her demise.

Bonny Thomas, my dear friend and upstairs neighbor, died violently just outside my front door on the morning of October 14.  She was 54 years old.  Bonny enriched my life by being part of it.  Her absence detracts from my quality of life.

Grief over two losses has merged into a complex of sadness and guilt with which God, work, church, and friends have helped me to cope.  These losses have reiterated what I knew already:  that life is brief and precious, that we ought to look out for and love one another, and that we should never take anyone for granted.  They have affirmed something else I knew already:  I am mortal.

I have no fear of being dead, but I am terrified of certain ways of dying.

Circumstances beyond my control are imposing drastic changes in my life.  2020, on the personal front, will be far different from 2019.  I have faith, pray for wisdom to make wise decisions, and hope for the best.  While I do so, I remember those I have loved and lost.  I also acknowledge that I may never get over their deaths, and probably never should.  I can and should, however, get on with life as I seek and, by grace, find the best way to make my contributions to society at any given time.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 12, 2019 COMMON ERA

Posted November 12, 2019 by neatnik2009 in Bonny Thomas (1965-2019)

Tagged with ,

In Paradisum Deducant Te Angeli….   4 comments

Photograph (dated October 27, 2019) by Kenneth Randolph Taylor

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

BONNY MARIE OGLESBY THOMAS

JANUARY 17, 1965-OCTOBER 14, 2019

Adieu, ma chérie.

Je t’aime.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Posted October 27, 2019 by neatnik2009 in Bonny Thomas (1965-2019)

Tagged with ,

Feeling Lost   4 comments

Seldom do I remember my dreams.

I did not sleep well last night.  In fact, I awoke too early.  My mind was busy, and I could not get back to sleep.  The details of the dream have begun to fade, but the scenario of being lost and not knowing where important items are has stayed with me.

That feeling describes me accurately.

Since Bonny’s death two days ago, I have been in a daze, with occasional moments of clarity.  In a moment I have made the transition from being articulate to being a sobbing mess many times.  I have, however, decided to force myself back into a routine today, for my own good.  I have always needed grace to do my job well, even on my best days.  (All of us always need grace and depend entirely on God.)  Today and the following days I need that grace more than ever.

I bid your prayers also for Bonny’s family and the repose of her soul.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 16, 2019 COMMON ERA

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Posted October 16, 2019 by neatnik2009 in Bonny Thomas (1965-2019)

Tagged with