My cousin, Carrie Molz, passed away Christmas Eve morning, at the age of 53. I find myself unusually affected by her passing, in part because her death was so unexpected and she was so young, but also: 

… the sheer number of people whose lives she touched. The crowds at her visitation and funeral were unlike any I’ve ever seen (and I’ve been to a lot of funerals). We barely found a place to park at the visitation. And after standing in a very long line for at least 30 minutes, the funeral director nicely asked everyone to move more quickly as there were so many people who wanted to offer condolences to the family. 

… and the beautiful eulogies from family and friends who spoke so eloquently of her life’s work caring for others through her volunteering. She’s inspiring me to step it up! 

… and the grace and compassion Todd, Tyler, and Trevor had for us mourners; even in their grief, they cared for the comfort and concern of those who came to show their respects.

… and being reunited with my far-flung brothers and sister as well as all the Hogans, Kortes, and Fladungs. We shared so many family stories and got caught up with our current lives. While talking with Ed Hogan about all the fun we had visiting them on the farm when we were young, he told a new-to-me story about my dad. He said every time our family got in the car to go back to Ottawa, Dad would roll down his window and yell, “Ed!” When he looked up, Dad would make the sign of the cross. This went on for years and Ed thought it was just a thing he and Uncle Al did. But about 10 years ago, his family finally explained it to him. One summer when he was young, he stayed for a week at Aunt Charlotte and Uncle Bob’s farm. One day Charlotte was driving with Ed on a rural, empty road and ran through a stop sign. Little Ed questioned her about it, and she explained that she could see in all directions and there clearly weren’t any cars, so it was OK. But as she was explaining her poor driving habits, she looked over and saw Ed making the sign of the cross. Ha!  That was sure my dad’s teasing way!

Right after Mom died, I was with my 8-year-old granddaughter. She noticed I was very quiet and asked what was wrong. I told her I was sad because my mom had just died. She said, “Grandpa, many people believe you can carry another person in your heart.” So true, sweet girl. And Carrie that’s where you are too!