Gathering

They’ve gathered by the hundreds and thousands and the hundred thousands today all over the country to say, “Never more!” Enough young lives and old lives have been taken in horrible events across this land. On another day, I would have stood there with them.

But today marks five years.

March 24, 2013, my brothers and sisters lost one of us in a way no family should. Our baby sister, Cathy, who should be living life as the 53-year old she would have turned last December 7, was taken by a stranger who sits locked up in Riverside, California.

So we gathered today to remember Cathy. To put purple flowers and dried Russian sage in the vase in Calvary Cemetery that is centered between her marker and the marker of our mom who left us March 27, 1966, not yet 34 years old. Mike and Barb burned some sage and offered beautiful words as the scent ascended among us. As for me, in the quiet of my heart, I heard these words: Dona eis requiem sempiternam…give them eternal rest.

Mike and Barb light the sage as Jana watches.

We took pictures as we do every year when we gather here to share with Susan and Sally and George. We once were seven…

Cathy and Mommy are not in this place where the markers are set and the flowers are laid and the sage has been burned, but this is where we gather to mark the day.

We gathered by the ones, remembering the ones we love.

We Once Were Seven (March 29, 2013)

In sixty-four on seventh December
She joined the family
Myself I really can’t remember
But there she was, our Cathy.

Number seven was her place
In order of our births
You can find some larger clans
On this planet Earth.

From one to seven we arrived
In four months and eight years
Year by year we each arrived
Like steps in a flight of stairs.

First was George, named for our dad
The one who is the namesake
Then came Jana as number two
Who stirred up a mighty wake
Julie came in fifty-eight
The “good one,” it is true!
Then number four was Susan Marie,
We never called her Sue.
And Mike was next, our firebug,
At least that’s what aunties said
And Sally followed after that
With blue eyes and curly head.

As I said before the last one came
And that was Catherine Gerard
Although we wanted more for her
Her life would be so hard.

We lost our mom when this youngest one
Was just three months past a year
It was hard for each and every one of us
But especially so for her.

She searched in ways throughout her life
To find the ties maternal.
And maybe now she has her answers
As she’s gone to life eternal.

I like to think she’s with our dad
And also with beloved mother
I do believe her pain is gone
That she’ll never feel another.

While walking through her days on earth
There was no solid ground
I’m thankful now that where she walks
There is peace that she has found.

Where once was seven, six remain
To hold each other near
My prayer for us as the days go on
Is to hold her memory dear.