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by Burrows and Wallace

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"The Lost"
by Daniel Mendelsohn

March 22, 2008

Now there are five

Ever since I was five years old I have been one of six sisters. There was Lyla, Marlyn, Eunice and me. After me came Anita and LaVerne. Now there are only five left. Eunice has gone ahead of us and now we are five. Our mother lived to be 97 so somehow, I think, I felt that each of us would too and that we would go in turn. Eunice had a degenerative neurological disease which she bore with patience and grace. It claimed her life shortly after four on March 6. Her four children, Mark, Terri, Heidi and Carol, were gathered around her bed along with some of her 17 grandchildren and a sister. There were also two sons-in-law and a daughter-in-law. LaVerne was there. She had been there all month helping to care for Eunice. Eunice was her “Little Mother.” Each of us had one. Marlyn came shortly afterward and they sang “Amazing Grace” together. I wish I had been there but I would not wish her back to the pain and the suffering she was experiencing.

On Tuesday, the 11th, a service was held for her. When the funeral director asked how many chairs would be needed for the family, I think she was a little surprised that we would need between 50 and 60. I was so happy that Kay came. She was there for less than 24 hours but it meant so much to me, especially. Mmmm was ailing at home but I was there, of course. Of the sisters, only the oldest sister, Lyla, wasn’t able to come. She is in a nursing home in Miles City. Only three grandchildren were unable to come. Four great-grandchildren were there, adding some liveliness to the service as they ran back and forth. Eleven of fourteen cousins were there. They hadn’t been together for many years. One cousin, Debbie, played the piano, an old friend sang, Phillip, a nephew on David’s side, gave the message and son-in-law, Ned, gave the eulogy. It was so touching to hear him speak of his beloved mother-in-law.

As we listened to and sang the songs Eunice had chosen, we were encouraged by her faith. She chose the following songs:

We Shall Behold Him
As the Deer Pants After the Waterbrook
Face to Face
Find Us Faithful

Her grandsons and a grandson-in-law were the honorary pallbearers and the list of the 12, one would hope, would be a list of those who will indeed be found faithful at the end of their lives and who will emulate Eunice and David in their walk with God.


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