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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The reason why Sunday was a gift day, and saying Goodbye to Mike

We knew that my brother-in-law Mike Grady was slowly losing his battle to cancer.  My older sister Ilene's husband, Mike had been fighting the good fight for quite a while.  He made it to celebrate his 80th birthday and their 50th wedding anniversary last fall.  He was with our extended family for Thanksgiving, and celebrated Christmas with his own growing immediate family. 

Last week, after a doctor visit, the news was not good.  Mike had about two more weeks to be with us.  My other sister Laurie organized a family gathering at Mike and Ilene's home for the coming Sunday in Vernonia, Oregon, for one last gathering. That was Wednesday.  On Thursday morning the word came that Mike had taken a turn for the worse, and he had only hours left.  Mike died later that morning, slipping peacefully away, surrounded by his family.

We would not be going to Oregon on Sunday for that one last gathering.  That's why I decided that day was a gift, to use in a way that would heal our spirit.

Today we made that trip to Vernonia for Mike's funeral, for his farewell party.

Following a simple graveside service, friends and family gathered in a local community hall to share food and memories and togetherness. 

The food was potluck, and the whole thing was organized by Ilene's local friends.
 Small towns know how to do it up right.
The good thing about the loss of a loved one is that it brings family together.  Here my daughter Jill is getting to know Mike and Ilene's youngest great granddaughter, who just happens to be named Violet, our mother's name.
 Ilene shared stories with some of the clan.
 Our Uncle Don and Aunt Jeanne were there.  Uncle Don is my mother's brother. 

Here I am with four of my five siblings: Brother Hank and sisters Ilene and Laurie. 
The sun was shining and the gathering was joyous.  Mike would have liked it.

Rest in Peace, John Micheal Grady. 

15 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry to hear about your brother-in-law's passing. Condolences to you and your family.

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  2. So many people who loved him, such a lovely family - a truly grand tribute to Mike! I'm sorry for your loss and will be sending healing thoughts your way.

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  3. So sorry for your loss. It is wonderful that your family all came together to celebrate your brother-in-law. The pictures of all the generations were great.

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  4. I love that picture of him holding his dog. It says volumes about who he was to all of you. I got together with my family last year when my sister died, and it was good to see everyone again, but still. We didn't have anything near as elaborate as this gathering, but we all enjoyed each other's company. Great pictures, Linda.

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  5. A lovely tribute. sorry for your loss.

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  6. Sorry for your loss Linda. Hope you all can get together soon just to keep in touch.

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  7. So sorry for your loss, Linda.

    My grand daughter was four when my mother died. She asked at the gathering after the funeral, "Why is everyone smiling when somebody died?" My Aunt Jule gave her a big hug and said, "because we have so many happy memories."

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  8. funerals can be wonderful gatherings for families to remember their lost loved one.

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  9. Linda, great picture of you with your siblings, and nice that you could all be together for Ilene and to say goodbye to Mike. RIP Mike. Your long battle is finally over and you are off to a better place.

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  10. I am so sorry for your loss Linda. Even when you expect it, passing is hard on those left behind. Family makes it a time to remember the best of times.

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  11. My condolences to you and your family, Linda.
    Glad you celebrated his life in such a fine way.

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  12. Sympathy to you for the loss of Mike. You can make some good memories.

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  13. I'm so sorry. Your post brought tears to my eyes. You have such a nice looking family.

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  14. I too am sorry for your loss. There is much to admire about this gathering to honor a much loved man. Mostly, I think the greatest aspect is that you are a well connected family that loves being together. I do think your brother-in-law would have enjoyed it so much. I also think it must have brought much comfort to your sister to know that he was so greatly loved, and that she also is greatly loved.

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