Notes from Jan

Laments While Life Goes On

October 1, 2018

Today would’ve been Jud’s 78th birthday.

Life, achingly slow in my early teens,  today, like finely ground sand races through the hour glass towards my finish line.  Didn’t I just have my annual physical?  Is it time  again to put out the trash?  Where did the week go?

This morning I read a poem, sent yesterday from the Writer’s Almanac.

Lament by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Listen, children:

Your father is dead.

From his old coats,

I’ll make you little jackets;

I’ll make you little trousers

From his old pants.

There’ll be in his pockets

Things he used to put there,

Keys and pennies

Covered with tobacco;

Dan shall have the pennies

To save in his bank.

Anne shall have the keys

To make a pretty noise with.

Life must go on,

Though good men die;

Anne, eat your breakfast;

Dan, take your medicine;

Life must go on;

I forget just why.

To all who’ve lost someone, I lament your empty place with mine.

If any have escaped such loss, it’s not a day for cheering the rest of us up or on.  Laments are good for body and soul, honoring ones gone and the truth life’s a gift but also hard and not always understood.

So today, I remember Jud, especially,  with tears and thankfulness, but resist staying stuck in place.

The kids are coming for supper and I’ve got to begin  my Swedish Death Cleaning.

That’s part of why I love Mary Oliver’s words,

We shake with joy, we shake with grief.

What a time they have, these two

housed as they are in the same body.”











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  • Reply Pat Boyd October 1, 2018 at 3:50 pm

    Dearest Jan,

    Maybe our bodies are like love, they can expand and hold all the joy shaking and all the grief shaking. At least they are shaking! I send love and blessings to you and your kids as you remember and celebrate Jud on his birthday.

  • Reply Dan Russ October 1, 2018 at 3:51 pm

    Dear Jan,
    Jud was/is a gift to us and countless others. He made our sojourn at Gordon and New England a joy. Thank you for being there for him and with him, and we are grateful for this man who celebrated this woman to share her wisdom and humor with so many. We share your grief and your gratefulness.
    Dan & Kathy

  • Reply Mark Taylor October 1, 2018 at 3:56 pm

    Happy birthday to Jud and blessings on you as you remember all your years together. And oh my–what a powerful poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay. It’s new to me, but I will go back to it!

  • Reply Wendy Lane October 1, 2018 at 4:12 pm

    Happy Birthday to a kind, compassionate, wise, strong, fun, humble, great man. You are missed President Carlberg.

  • Reply Jennifer Dickinson October 1, 2018 at 4:30 pm

    Thinking of you all today!

  • Reply Sue Andringa October 1, 2018 at 6:03 pm

    I’m joining the chorus in remembering Jud and the very special man he was. We will always be grateful for his life and that he chose YOU to be his beloved. Love to you and your family as you gather together tonight to remember the day God gave him to the world. What an impact he had on so many lives! xoxo

  • Reply Katherine Bagley October 1, 2018 at 7:08 pm

    Sending hugs

  • Reply Raquel October 1, 2018 at 8:42 pm

    Oh, MamaJan,
    We are with you in your pain and sadness today. We love you and send you all our love. May God keep you and embrace you especially today wiping every tear, dearest MamaJan!
    R + S + L

  • Reply Alyssa Arnold October 1, 2018 at 9:59 pm

    You. Are. Loved.

  • Reply Madeline October 2, 2018 at 12:18 am

    my heart goes out to you. Praying that our Lord’s love surrounds you

  • Reply Susan McMullen October 2, 2018 at 12:47 am

    Yes, we shake Xxoo

  • Reply Russ Bishop October 2, 2018 at 3:28 pm

    Great Jan; love the title…

  • Reply Jeri October 8, 2018 at 11:47 am


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