1932 - 2013
My dear friend, Ruth, lost her sweet mother, Virginia a week ago. Virginia and her husband of nearly 60 years, Larry, had eight children - six girls and two boy, 21 grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. A more loving family you simply will never meet. It's impossible. No wonder I was drawn to them 36 years ago, and can't stay away.
Our friend, Megan, and I drove down to Springfield yesterday for the funeral, the reception, then the after-party at Larry and Virginia's home of 53 years. We laughed, we cried, we looked at old pictures, we told stories, we ate, and ate and ate, then we drove home in the dark and the cold and the fog and all the rest, warmed from the inside out.
Soon as we got back to the house Ruth offered me a glass of wine, and told me the story of the H3 (hard to see, but that's what the label says on the bottle she's holding). She said they'd all been drinking that wine all week while they planned the funeral, but there was no real significance to it, someone just brought it and they were drinking it. Or so they thought.
Then Ruth said her youngest sister, Teresa (on the right) had noticed that if you broke apart the "H" in H3, it was really 1-13, which was the day Virginia died. Cue woo-woo music. It gets better. Virginia was cremated, and her remains will be in the mausoleum at her church, temporarily. Larry wants her to be there with him when he goes to church each Sunday morning (just like he has done every Sunday morning in that church for nearly 60 years). After he passes, Virginia will be moved, and they'll be laid to rest together.
It came to the part in the service where the eight children, their husbands and wives, 21 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren all walked over to the mausoleum, and placed her remains. Her spot in the mausoleum? Do you really even need to ask? H 3.
Here's a picture of Larry with three of his biological daughters, and just some of his many adopted ones.
Larry was telling Ruth and me how much he loved Virginia, and how he told her when she was in a coma, but he wasn't sure she heard him. Ruth joked, "Well, you never said it before then, did you?"
"Every night," he said, "every night before we went to bed, I'd give her a kiss and tell her I loved her."
He had told Ruth earlier that he used to pray God would take him first, because he couldn't bear to live without her, but after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, he told God to take her first, he needed to be around to take care of her.
"God answered my prayer, Ruth," he said.