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When I last spoke with my cousin Joe Manson early in November, he was leaving for the airport to go to Miami where, he explained, he was going to work with his sister Maryrose to handle a family problem.In searching the net a few moments ago I discovered that his sister, my cousin, Maryrose died on November 5th.
Joe either knew nothing of Maryrose's illness, or chose to keep their secret. Perhaps it was sudden. He must have been at her side at the end. I was searching the net tonight because last evening one of Joe's daughters called me to explain that on Saturday evening, her dad passed away from cancer. I am very sad. I loved them both, but Joe was much closer to my age so I knew him better. I am told he was lucid to the end, and indeed he'd written copious notes that directed his own funeral. Apparently he planned it for next Saturday, but he neglected to recall that Saturday is a Holy day, hence the Catholic parish church he served as a deacon is fully available only on Friday.
Joe and his wonderful family live just outside of Philadelphia, and this gap of ninety miles has let us lose regular track of one another. I shall miss knowing he was near. He was a blessed friend to my parents when I lived in New England stopping in almost every other day. As a CPA, he handled their finances. He did for them much that I wish I could have. He was always available for advice... Now I wish I'd called upon it more often. There aren't an abundance of very solid people in my world, solidity is something so damned precious and when a piece of it slips... Even a piece that you neglected, yet counted upon... Things become shakier. Damn... It did not seem to be his turn. Others on our line of cousins are older. Others have had more happy days with their grandkids. If you believe in God, you probably wonder why such a good guy wasn't given more of that.
But perhaps God himself grows lonely for solidity,eh?
BTW... I took Rocco out for an adventure a couple of weekends back along the Conestoga River as it flows past Lancaster. This mystically regenerating tree against the color and promise of fall and that endless river felt so hopeful even at a time when things seem to be shutting down for awhile. I recalled it when I thought of Joe and the flow of family memories which continually regenerate and pass along as colorful bits for those who wait downstream.