Category Archives: Celebration of Life

April 28, 2017 – A to Z Challenge – X

I was startled this morn to find out that “The Deeper Meaning of Liff” does not have any words for X.  So I googles weird words that start with X and got a few.  I am not sure how many people read any of this or if they have found it interesting or what but at least for me it has been an exercise in doing quick writes every day and using my imagination.  I never think of myself as being very imaginative but this has been fun and a challenge to myself.  So many challenges in life and this is very minor compared to others.

Although I have a headache I am going to write something short this evening.   I found three words that I thought might be fun to use starting with X.

Short Story – The Xanthippe Woman

After lunch today it was so lovely and warm that a walk in the park before going back to the office was called for.  My mood was high and full of hope for a lovely fall.

The park has dense wooded areas and the trees were starting to change colors.  The weird summer weather must have upset the balance of nature and the xanthophyll had greatly influenced the leaves as they turned this year.  There seemed to be little red there at all.  It would have make a pretty picture.

As I was day dreaming along my way I bumped into a xanthorus woman.   She actually had that shade of red that looked like her head was on fire.  It also appeared that she had no sense of humor because as I said I was sorry she turned on me and started to shout about how rude I was and that I was probably texting and not watching where I was going.  If she had bothered to look she would have seen that there was no phone in my hand or anywhere to be seen.  I looked right in her eyes and told her I had been admiring the colors of the trees and was sorry I had not seen her coming.  Of course she had her phone in her hand and appeared to have been on it at the time of the crash.

She yelled some more and then stormed off.  I thought how sorry I felt for her on this beautiful day in the park with the trees so colorful and the sky so blue.


August 29 2016 – Memories of Stan Zemgulis

This weekend we were planning to drive the grand kids down to Binghamton to meet up with their parents and then return childless to Canada. But that was not meant to be. On Friday I received a message from one of my dearest old friends, Sr. Sue Zemgulis that her Dad, Stan, had died on the 24th. Stan and his wife Marion have been dear friends almost since we moved to Niskayuna in 1978. So we changed our plans and headed for home after dropping off the girls.

Stan was a kind of quiet fellow. An engineer for years with GE and married to his sweetheart Marion for 63 years. They have four terrific children all doing different things in their lives but good solid people. I met Sue when she was 14 and I have no idea how old her parents were. Her mother had some back problems and I was asked it I wanted to come along to pray for her at their house. This was all new for me so I said sure. Stan would have been at work that day but I can remember their house and Marion’s wonderful self. As time went on we got to know each other in various ways through the Church. It was St. Helen’s back then.

We belonged to a prayer group for many years. It started as part of a two year Renew project in our parish. Our group never stopped meeting. People came and went but eventually we came down to a core group comprised of Rich, Susan, Bonnie, Stan, Marion, Alexis, Denis and myself. We were a family of folks. Almost all of us came here from somewhere else so we had no Sunday night family dinners with the extended family. We had our prayer group where we read some scripture and talked about it and then talked about our problems and were loved in spite of ourselves. I love all of the group and it hurts to know that I won’t be seeing Stan again.

Stan and Marion were a generation above the rest of us and they were deeply rooted in their faith. They were like the parents we all wished we had had. Or at least for me in terms of my faith it would have been great to have parents who had such a strong abiding belief. But the other thing they were was accepting. No matter what we said they did not scold or tell us we were off base. I have relatives who would condemn some of the things we said as un-Christian etc. But they accepted us where we were and it gave us a safe place to express ourselves.

Over time in the group we saw that we each had our roles. There were the doubting Thomas’, the blind faith, those who questioned everything, and some deep thinkers like I could never sit still to meditate. But Stan and Marion always held the respected Elder position. He, his quiet and strong faith, and Marion the mother role. They were such faith filled people.

The last time I saw Stan was in the spring before we came north. I was at the Drug Take Back Day at Town Hall and he drove up. He said he wanted to come so we could say hi. We chatted for a while and it was just so good to see him. I knew he was not well but was plowing forward. He looked good and it was so nice to see him. Later before we left I saw Marion and she told me he was struggling with fluid around the heart and I knew that was not good news. But he was the same. Great attitude and acceptance.

Today at Stan’s Funeral his wonderful daughter Sister Sue gave the homily i.e. reflection . and it was inspiring. She told the story of her dad and his faith and how he was a rock. When I looked at him the night before in the casket all I wanted to do was to give him one last hug. But I could not. Sue read a prayer he had written and said every day. I am going to close with that prayer.

Holy Trinity, be with me today
Abba, Father, hold mt hand.
Lord, Jesus walk, with me,
talk with me,
teach me your ways.
Send the Holy Spirit and counsel me,
console me,
comfort me.

by Stan Zemgulis 1925 – 2016

May 4, 2016 – The Irish Wake

When I was young and a relative on my mom’s side died the wake would be held at home. The times I was there they were either at my grandfathers house or my Uncle Ferg’s house. People would line up and pass by the casket, usually open, and then go into the parlor or dining room for coffee, or tea and small sandwiches and cakes or cookies. We younger ones just hung out, ate and visited.

I was impressed with this process and after the hours of the wake the family would gather and have drinks and sit around the table discussing whatever. If my Dad and my Uncle Allan were there the talk would always end up on religion or politics. There were tears but also lots of laughter and giggles.

This week my friends daughter in law died. She had been sick for many years and was a true fighter. She kept going in spite of her illness. But last week her body would not let her go on and she died in her husbands arms. They were a lovely couple and so obviously in love.

Yesterday the obituary showed up in the newspaper and the wake was being held at home. That threw me a little bit. Now what was this going to be like? It was just a lovely celebration of Dawns life. We were greeted by a son in law at the door of one house offering us a glass of Champagne.. To explain, the young couple bought the grandparents house right behind his parents house.

We walked through the one house into the yard and it was incredible what they had done. There were blown up pictures along the path of the couple. There were tents for just sitting and visiting and others with food and drink. The casket was sitting to one side along with a book to sign and a jar with cards to fill out with gratitude messages about Dawn. They had done a wonderful job of setting up the two backyards as a place of celebration.

We saw some of our old friends and some newer ones of mine. Sadie was there who when she was four was in love with my husband – aka Santa – but that was 20 years ago and she is as sweet as she was then. Father Bob came and said prayers which were good for everyone. But the goal of the day was to celebrate and appreciate Dawn for what she had given each of us during her life. We all agreed their Irish Wake was much nicer than a funeral parlor wake.

The funeral tomorrow will be special as well. A celebration for a very warm, talented, gifted and loving woman.