Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Deaths in the family

The past couple of weeks have been fraught with sorrow for many, many people.

Here on Whidbey, another member of the UU family died unexpectedly, a woman in her 50's, not as well known as the man who died earlier, but a part of our congregation nevertheless. I had visited her not long ago and found her in good spirits, eager to resume her life after being diagnosed with polymyalgia rheumatica. Sadly, this condition worsened into giant cell arteritis and her body just gave out. Her memorial will be after the holidays.

On Vashon, I learned, the son of a Fellowship couple died suddenly yesterday morning of a heart attack. Parents are not supposed to outlive their children and the couple is, naturally, devastated. I will not be able to travel to Vashon to be with them just yet. I will hope that at a later date, I will be helpful.

And now the news of the death of the Rev. Marjorie Bowens-Wheatley, beloved colleague and friend to many, married later in life to her sweetheart, the Rev. Clyde Grubbs, who was at her bedside when she died. I knew Marjorie only briefly but was warmed by her friendly, welcoming spirit. Her influence and the love she gave so freely has altered and will continue to alter the shape of history. For a sense of the many lives she has touched and the many ways she has influenced Unitarian Universalism, google her name. You will be amazed and thrilled by her legacy.

1 comment:

LinguistFriend said...

I have known Clyde in person only briefly, since last summer's GA, but one knew that this was waiting at some point after his move to Pasadena. I have pleasant memories of the church there to which he has moved (from occasional visits during my dozen years living in the San Fernando Valley), and hope that his pastoral role somehow works to make the loss more bearable.
Given information on the number and ages of the population served by a minister, I expect that one could estimate fairly well the number of rites of birth,, marriage, and death that will come up during a certain period. It would work better with larger churches, of course, and the statistical techniques probably already exist. That does not help in dealing with individual losses, but it might help in estimating the burdens of particular sorts that a minister can expect to deal with during a certain time period. The factors that bring people to UU congregations as a second or third affiliation probably work in such a way as to make deaths more common than in other groups, however.