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Errantry: Novak's Journal
...Words to cast/My feelings into sculpted thoughts/To make some wisdom last
Personal: The Death of My Aunt Rita 
21st-Mar-2009 08:20 pm
My Aunt Rita died last night. Mom had left a few messages for me through the afternoon to call, and so when I walked through the door and got them a little while ago, I was a bit worried. And so I got the news.

I had only met her once, back in 2004, for reasons you can read in my LiveJournal entry of the time, if so inclined. Once again, she had been struggling with pneumonia, and had failed to the point where she was on a respirator. And it was time to let her go, at last, in hopes that the resurrection might give her an opportunity to move beyond the decades of infancy that had so limited her life. Thinking back on that visit, I remember especially certain images from the photographs I took there, both of Rita and Tommy, and of the grounds, of places they liked. Those were all lost in the accidental deletion of all my photographs from 2002-04, which somehow seems fitting, as though all her life were some secret still beyond our vision.
22nd-Mar-2009 03:12 am (UTC)
Memory Eternal!
May Christ receive Rita in Hs mercy
and may this faith comfort all who love her.
22nd-Mar-2009 12:49 pm (UTC)
Thank you, John. Hers is one of those lives that stands as a conundrum to us all: that some people in a fit of awful well-intention might say would have been better not to be lived, though most people making that argument seem not to realize that they mean that the absence of such flaws is easier for themselves, and so they become too cavalier about others' lives and deaths.

But at the same time, I have always found it hard to do anything but mourn for her and her similarly-afflicted brother, and for another aunt I had, the eldest of the family, who also was stricken by the disease and who died at fourteen. Like children who weren't sick in this way, they were loved, and even returned such affection as they were capable of, in this decades-long infancy of theirs. The sense of tragedy I feel – like that for an old friend I became re-acquainted with this week who lost her son last year just before his fifth birthday – is a mourning for what might have been, not so much for what is or what was. At some level, that's perfectly obvious; at another, I wonder whether, like all expectations in life, that those are only our illusions, keeping us looking at anything except what is, and from cherishing that.

I would appreciate it if you could put her, Rita Sweeney, into a Mass intention of yours.
22nd-Mar-2009 02:34 pm (UTC)
Mike - - I will offer the 10.15 Mass for Rita this morning since I don't have an assigned intention (perhaps providential). Thanks for reflecting more about her and your thoughts and feelings. I went back to read the earlier post about the time when you met Rita and your uncle at the institution. It is all such a mystery, but I cannot believe that a life is "wasted" but that in the divine economy there is a value here that is veiled to our understanding now, but "then we shall know even as we are known". She and your family will be on the prayer list for the time being.
22nd-Mar-2009 08:02 am (UTC)
I will be sure to pray for her at Divine Liturgy later this morning.
22nd-Mar-2009 12:51 pm (UTC)
I would appreciate that greatly. Thank you.
23rd-Mar-2009 04:26 am (UTC)
I'm sorry to hear that. The story of Rita and Tommy's lives makes me very sad; mental disabilities and "perpetual childhood" are always sad in their way, I think, but it seems especially tragic because neither were born that way. It is good to know that God is ever present using all things for his good purpose, and that his power is made perfect in our weakness, even our deformity.

"Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
...If I say, "Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,"
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it full well."

Edited at 2009-03-23 04:42 am (UTC)
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