Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Letters from Newfoundland

Though we have only been here three times before, it is clear that we are part of the community. On Christmas Eve we went to church in Sweetbay and knew at least 4 or 5 folks in the congregation and were warmly welcomed by several more. Even the old priest seemed to recognize me from the mass for the dead held in the cemetary a year and a half ago.

So, when I heard that our friends, Kathy and Sam, had lost their 25 year old son unexpectedly in October, we sent a condolance card and our prayers. By return mail we received a mass card with his picture and a beautiful poem printed on the back. We stopped by Kathy and Sam's little store today when we were in Tickle Cove. After chatting in the store for a few minutes, Kathy invited us over to her house for tea. She pulled out cookies and cakes and candy for the children. From the refrigerator she retrieved a tray of sliced ham. She opened the oven door to reveal a shelf full of tinfoil wrapped parcels, one of which contained sliced turkey which she placed on the table with the ham. Meanwhile she heated up a brown sugar sauce into which we were to dip our ham.

She told us about her son's last day. She talked about the funeral. She laughed when she described the church at his mass. It was October 31st, and since one of his favorite days was Halloween, the priest let them give out their Halloween candy after the mass and decorate the church with pumpkins. Gregory was buried in the Catholic churchyard overlooking the bay on All Saints day. There is a decorated Christmas tree on his grave right now, as Christmas was his VERY favorite time of year.

Kathy and Sam have spent the last 25 years of their life caring for Gregory because he had autism and in Newfoundland, the nearest program for him was 3 1/2 hours away. They are having a hard time figuring out what to do with their time these days.

When I excused myself to use the bathroom, I noticed that there was no mirror on the wall.


juniper68 said...

thanks for this - such a sweet story...

Mary Beth said...

Oh, this is heartbreaking. Especailly the part about the mirror.

love from far away!