Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Eagles have Flown Away

I spent every Sunday since the beginning of November on the Des Moines River Trail.  For those of you not in the know, the DMRT is the metro's newest trail linking Mullets to Cownie Baseball Complex following the Des Moines River and Hartford Ave.  During winter many bald eagles take up residence along the river in order to feed themselves from the open water.  I estimate at the heart of the winter there would be as many as 40 eagles in the air and trees along the trail.

My purpose, however, was not bird spotting.  Rather I decided to put the bike to to work of good rather than for my own vanity and entertainment.  I delivered Holy Communion to the home bound on Sunday.  Two main people plus their caretakers.  Two stops.  Rose was the furthest and usually my first stop,  She was the reason I took the trail.  Bob lived just a few blocks away and thus the trail was not necessary.  But I would take the trail from Rose's home to Bob's.

As the winter slowly wore out and left the eagles thinned out.  Soon double digit numbers of these birds were not to be seen.  One week I did not see any, just heard one.  The next week I saw 1 juvenile and one adult.  And then I saw no more.  All left for their warm weather homes.

Never really thought about it until today but as the number of eagles decreased so did the health of Rose and Bob.  Just a coincidence.  Spring was upon us.  But there was a reason my two charges never made it to church.  They were dieing.

The last few weeks it was evident.  Rose no longer would be waiting in her chair.  Bed ridden.  The last time I saw her I do not think she was conscience.  Unable to swallow and having to receive water through a sponge it was over.  All I could was pray for her and her family, a family that worked hard and sacrificed to attend to her needs, doing what she could not.  She died just over a week ago at home with her family.  Not alone.  What more could one ask for.

Bob was always in his chair.  But his family said he was getting worse.  Finally he stopped eating.  2 weeks later he passed.  That was today.  I found out in an email.  His daughter called me later, in tears to tell me.  I had not seen him for a week since Mary, his daughter not my wife, was now able to drive and bring him the Eucharist herself.  I did visit once and had a long conversation with him.  Wish I had another one.

How the end always is...Time does not stop for the grieving.  The world goes on despite the suffering and pain those left behind endure.  Sure, some bereavement time but life and the world go on..

"It's a wild world out there And nobody gives a damn In cold blood we don't care
And we don't want to understand." *

No amount or arrangement of words and language will stop the pain.  All the time we watch someone die we live in denial and hope against hope for some miracle.  To selfish to realize that when the ill and worn out pass away their pain and suffering have ended.

Irish wakes.  Celebrate life.  Stay young.  When you get old you give up and begin to die.

* New Order, Turn, 2005, WFTSC

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