Category Archives: death

This is Creepy but Interesting

Last week I read this bit from Magnificat. It gave me the creeps and some food for thought:

We must make this abundantly clear: evil, suffering, death, and hell (that is, eternal damnation in everlasting torment) are not acts of God… One day Father Candido was expelling a demon. Toward the end of the exorcism, he turned to the evil spirit and sarcastically told him, “Get out of here. The Lord has already prepared a nice, well-heated house for you!” At this, the demon answered, “You do not know anything! It wasn’t he [God] who made hell. It was us. He had not even thought about it.” Similarly, on another occasion, while I was questioning a demon to know whether he had contributed to the creation of hell, I received this answer: “All of us cooperated.”

-Father Gabriele Amorth, chief exorcist of Rome, Italy


Good Bye Georgy Girl

Lynn Redgrave passed away at the age of 67. To me she’ll be Georgina, forever looking for love in Mod London.


I’m slowly getting into an exercise routine, post partum. I’ve returned to St. Cecilia’s walking the perimeter. The first time I did it last week, I went very slowly. (Another thing you don’t hear much about is the hemorrhoid problem, post delivery. Very uncomfortable.) I’m gearing up to start jogging next week. Slowly…

"and I miss her everyday."

Yesterday during my perambulations I saw one of the regulars. Usually I see the same folks walking but this retired regular visits  his wife’s grave. He shovels the show around the headstone in winter and plants flowers in the spring. (I wrote about him in 2008.) I’ve always nodded and said hello to him but this time he wanted to talk.

He held a shovel with a mix of snow and dog poop. As I walked by he started railing against dog walkers (which are verbotten in St. Cecilia’s.)

“It wouldn’t be so bad if they picked up but when they don’t it shows disrespect.”

From that topic, he talked about his wife who passed six years ago, “and I miss her everyday.”

The rest of the conversation was about his wife and family. He just wanted to talk and I was a willing listener.

Canadian Salute

Remember that horrific shooting of 4 Lakewood Police Officers in the coffee shop located in Washington State? At the memorial service in the Tacoma Dome, the RCMP (“The Mounties”) sent over 1000 officers. Here’s the clip of them entering the arena. It’s very impressive and moving.

H/T: Small Dead Animals

Miss Me, But Let Me Go

What do you say about a woman who lived 91 years and never let an idle day go by in her life? That woman was Anne Powis. I met her at my previous employment when she was a volunteer and I was wet behind the ears. She never dwelled on her remarkable past because there was so much living to do in the present.

I remember being open-eyed as she related the story when she was a young woman working at a hotel in Vienna, 1938. The Anschluss occurred and overnight swastikas were everywhere. Anne and one other girl were chosen to wear traditional Austrian dress and stand on the hotel balcony when Hitler entered the city. The irony was that she and the girl were the only two Jews working at the hotel but they were the most “Germanic” looking on staff. Anne recalls the open sedan transporting Der Furher down the strasse.  Soon thereafter, SS men came to the hotel to inquire if any of the staff had problems with Anne and the other Jewish worker. No one did.

Anne’s father saw the writing on the wall and packed off his family to England and then finally to the United States. Always grateful for what this country did for her family, Anne wanted to give back and that she did.

Two years ago I nominated Anne for Outstanding Federal Volunteer for the Greater Boston Area. She was a finalist. I think she should have won, but obviously, I’m biased. Below is a portion of the nomination letter I wrote (with grateful input from my supervisor) on Anne’s behalf. Anne has so proud of her nomination and made tons of copies of the letter to give to family and friends. Hopefully, it will give you an idea of what sort of person she was:

A natualized citizen from Austria who has lived in the Boston area for decades, Anne has a special affinity for the tourist who’s English is, at best, hesitant. Fluent in English, French, German and Italian, Anne has made these visitors feel at home, providing knowledgable information as only a local can convey. Because of Anne, the visitor leaves […] not only with a map and brochure but they have met a representative of the opportunities America offers to those who build a new life here.

When asked why she has given so freely of her time for so many years, Anne, who with her parents, fled Austria before World War II, replied, “This country saved our lives and I wouldn’t be here today…I feel good that I am repaying in a small measure what the United States did for me and my family.” Arriving as a young woman in her twenties, Anne married, raised a family and lived the American Dream. […]

On the rare occasions that Anne can not come into work, her presence is sorely missed. Working […] without Anne’s assistance is like being stumped on a nationally telecast quiz show without a lifeline.

The last 6-8 months of Anne’s life were difficult. A series of health problems curtailed her mobility and she started to withdraw from her family and friends. The last time I spoke her, Anne cut the conversation short. At the time I didn’t understand why but perhaps Anne was preparing us for what she knew was coming.

On November 30, Anne left us bodily but her spirit and legacy will remain to all she met. At the funeral, Anne left instructions for this poem to be read:

When I come to the end of the road

And the sun has set for me,

I want no rites in a gloom-filled room,

Why cry for a soul set free!

Miss me a little – but not for long

And not with your head bowed low.

Remember the love that we once shared,

Miss me, but let me go.

For this journey that we all must take

And each must go alone;

It’s all a part of the Master’s plan

A step on the road to home.

When you are lonely and sick at heart

Go to the friends we know,

And bury your sorrows in doing good deeds.

Miss me, but let me go.

– Edgar Albert Guest

I will miss you, Anne.

Small Treasures

I’ve written about St. Cecilia’s Cemetery many times. It’s an unassuming Catholic burial spot in the middle of a working class neighborhood. The cemetery is the place of my (almost daily) constitutional and it’s been that place for nearly a year. Yet, I find new images that catch my eye. Perhaps it’s the slant of sunlight hitting a statue just so or it’s just my eyes pointed at the right place, at the right time. I kick myself for not carrying a camera.

Today I got smart and did just that. Here’s what I saw:

Adaline Panquette's Medieval Messanger

Adaline Panquette's Medieval Messenger

Overgrown Angel

Overgrown Angel

Faded Madonna

Faded Madonna

Cool Nature Thing

In the midst of my daily constitutional around St. Cecilia’s cemetery, I saw a hawk totally eviscerate a squirrel.


Squirrils need this to survive the St. Cecilia's hawk.

Squirrels need this to survive the St. Cecilia hawk.