January 2, 2014
Today, quite unexpectedly, I received a Christmas letter from a dear friend. It gave my heart pangs of grief as I attended her funeral on December 17, exactly one week after the funeral of my father.
“Jinger” and my dad were nearly the same age. I first met her when she was a patient at a hospital where I worked. There was instant magic and attraction as if our souls were comfortable old friends. I would visit her each time she was a patient -she began announcing in the Emergency Room upon arrival to notify me she was in the house. Afterwards, when she released, we would visit her in the care facilities she moved to.
One day, after learning that my mother had passed some years before, Jinger announced that she could be my mom-my second mother. We agreed it would be a good thing for us-I even told her real daughter and her son of my “adoption”. Another of my friends and I would go as often as we could to the Assisted Living facility where both she and her husband resided. Although on different units, they visited each other often. They brought great joy to our lives, to each other and to the residents and staff . When her beloved husband passed away she told us she often saw him in the empty bed beside her in the room as she lay sleeping. We were at her side for his funeral.
My friend and I had planned to visit her Saturday on the week she died.
Sitting in the memorial chapel for her funeral just weeks ago, my sorrow seemed almost overwhelming. It was so hard to lose your mother and your father…and to lose my “adopted mother” so quickly after my daddy seemed nearly unbearable.
The Christmas letter I received today was dictated in October, prior to becoming sicker and going on Hospice Care. She spoke of her declining health but also of her hope to be better in the new year. She thanked everyone for their visits and kindnesses to her in the year just past. Her daughter was kind to mail it to the recipients on her list. She had already signed and stuffed them into the envelopes-ready to go!
My heart is still reeling from the numbing grief following this month of heartache and sorrow. I will miss my dear sweet friend who one sunny afternoon saw inside the heart of this middle aged woman; only she was seeing the heart of a girl who grieved the loss of her mother and reached out to comfort me.
I will never forget the mark she left on my life. I know that I am a better person for having known her.
Last night I celebrated the end of a year.
I was clever and giddy last night,
consuming food far too rich and drinking too much wine.
It was, indeed a great gathering…
last night, a few dear friends engaged in feasting, dance and song.
I tumbled into bed scarcely past 1:30…
Good morning you party girl! I could not rise upright before nine
needing to nap again before noon… rumbly tummy…
Now,”tis only nine pm- I surrender to the clock and shut out the light.
Starting on January 1st write good things
that happen to you on little pieces of paper:
*the beauty of nature
*Memories worth saving
*things that made you smile
*things you are grateful for
Then, on Dec.31st open the jar
and read all the amazing things
My days seem to drip down more rapidly
now, as I am standing
near the edge
of another New Year…
Time drifts in the sand dial as
elicit both sighs
lofty challenges tossed
out in the mine-paths
of my already too-filled days,
get tucked away in the over-stuffed files
of my mental memory bank
Now, when it is time to review
(or possibly renew them
if they are worthy of a second look)
Teetering on the edge
between Christmas and New Year
I, too, have been merry
and I also have been not so…
My heart is filled with family
present and those who are lost forever
except to my soul.
I am giddy with grandchildren and
even more great-grands!
Life is good here on the edge!
The trees all ornamented and festooned
will remain until I can’t stand to look
at the bedazzlement any longer!
I stand here again at the edge of another year;
“I procrastinate therefore I am”.
CM/Sgt USAF (retired) Floyd J. Harrison passed away Sunday Dec.1, 2013 in San Antonio, Texas at the age of 90.
He was born to Pioneer parents. His mother made the land run opening Oklahoma to settlement, She was aged 6 at the time (1889) His father was a Sooner, as he had been in Indian Territory since 1875. He was born late in their Lives. His dad was 64 and mom was 40 when he was born on January 8, 1923 in Hominy, OK. He had 12 brothers and sisters.
During WW2 he enlisted in the Navy and following a combat tour in B-24s, was sent to Minneapolis, MN. for advanced Electronics school. There he met the love of his life. Because he had another tour of combat to make, she moved to Los Angeles where her brother lived; he was posted to San Diego Naval Air Station. They were married in 1946 just after he was discharged from the Navy. They were living in Oklahoma and he was employed running a Bar and Pool room. The recruiter for the USAF came by every day to visit him, and, as the Berlin Airlift had just begun, he joined the Air Force as a Tech Sgt ( E-6) and was soon on my way to Europe to fly the Air Lift.
His Sweetie and two babies (Barb and Nance) soon joined him in Frankfurt, Germany. When the Airlift ended, he was posted to Copenhagen Denmark flying as Radio Op for General Ralph Snavely, who was part of the Military Assistance Advisory Group. Daughter Jennifer was born in Denmark on a day when he was flying down to Germany. His next tour of duty was on a remote radar installation in the Aleutian Islands; while there his son Dan was born in MN. The family later joined him in Alaska. Throughout his career they enjoyed many great duty stations covering many years before retiring in 1974 in San Antonio.
He was preceded in death on Dec.3, 1998 by Elsie G. Harrison, (Sweetie) his wife of 54 years and three grandsons. He is survived by his children, Barbara Luthy, husband Richard of San Antonio; Nancy Saylor, life partner, James Jacobs of Austin; Jennifer Haggy and husband Roger of San Antonio; son Dan Harrison and Judy Thompson ,San Antonio and daughter Paula Coleman and husband Paul Coleman of Corpus Christi. In addition he had 15 grandchildren and 8 great- great grandchildren, as well as numerous nieces and nephews. Following the death of his wife, he enjoyed spending many years with his dear companion, Nell.
He was a 4th Degree Knight in the Knights of Columbus, and he enjoyed fishing, golf and reading.
Rosary will be held Sunday night at 7pm at Porter Loring Funeral Home in San Antonio; Funeral Mass will be Monday, Dec.9 at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church followed by burial at Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery.