Monday, January 29, 2018

Resisting erasure

For the past week or so, I have been making my way through a list of bills, various banking/savings accounts, the water department, the electric company, the public library, Amazon, and the myriad places we had joint accounts or he had a separate account to let them know that he has died.

No he won't be checking out any more books from the library, or downloading books into his Kindle, and please remove his name from this account and from this listing. . .

How unexpected it was to find that simply asking that his name be removed from various accounts, lists, bills, etc. could hurt so damn much.

Oh, I know it has to be done, for accurate record keeping, for tax records, to prevent fraud, etc., but it feels way too much like erasing him from my life. It has been completely exhausting and emotionally draining. My chest has ached so much I thought for a while I might be getting sick. But no, it was simply the very real, very physical pain of an aching heart.

I'm fine until I have to once again say the words, "He died on December 11." On some calls, I can say it with barely a tremor in my voice. On others, though, I barely manage to choke the words out. And I never know which it will be. My emotions blindside me all the time.

I've learned to just say, "Please hold on,"and then put the phone down and breathe for a moment before I resume the conversation.

I very much appreciate the way most of the people I've dealt with have been kind enough to be business-like and focused on the task at hand. Perhaps they have dealt with this situation enough to know that if they offer their sympathy and condolences I'm liable to fall apart and start weeping into the phone or onto the counter and I really don't want to inflict that on them -- or me. As it is, the phone sessions always seem to end up with all my dogs clustered under the desk on or around my feet in a comforting pile of fur and love and shared grief. It takes a great untangling of legs and tails and fuzzy feet for me to just stand up.

Then I turn for solace to the task of thanking people for remembering him in so many kind ways. People have made donations in his memory to organizations he cared deeply about, and I so appreciate that.

If you want to do this too, I would ask that you donate to the parish where he was serving when I became an Episcopalian -- St. Luke's in the Meadow Episcopal Church, 4301 Meadowbrook Drive, Fort Worth, TX, 76103 on the east side of Fort Worth. If you want to donate online, do so at Just note that you are giving to St. Luke's in his memory, and the money will be sent to them via the diocesan office.

And if you are looking for a place to explore a relationship with God, and learn how that can inform you relationship with your neighbor, like I was, St. Luke's is a great place to do that.

Gayland being installed as rector at St. Luke's in the Meadow.

Gayland was rector (the priest in charge) at St. Luke's from the mid-80s to the early 1990s. We worshiped together at St. Luke's in his retirement (I still do). The current priest, the Rev. Karen Calafat (who Gayland loved), presided at his funeral. The congregation continues his work of "making and keeping human life human" in this neighborhood, this city, and this state. They feed the hungry, care for the weak, embrace those on the margins, love the vulnerable, help the children, and welcome the stranger. They worship together, break bread together, hold one another close in gentle care. They are a diverse bunch who truly believe, as did Gayland, that God loves absolutely everybody -- no exceptions. They aren't a large congregation, but their impact belies their size. Still, they can use additional resources and Gayland would LOVE to know he was helping with that.

And I would love knowing his work continues even as his name disappears from so many places.

1 comment:

J A Mossbarger said...

Dearest Katie, just want you to know that Galand and you continue to inspire my life daily, even in the way I am going about settling into my several abodes on this property of mine in Granbury. Love to you. ~ Allan