Lots to do around here. Trying to catch up. My friend, Marcia, would have celebrated her birthday recently. Would have, had she not died of lung cancer last September. She'd never smoked so it was quite a shock when we learned of her diagnosis. I do believe God cried when it happened. Here is the eulogy I gave at her funeral:
My friend, Marcia, died this week. I visited with her about six weeks ago when we happened to be in town for a few days and she was on her way home from physical therapy. She looked so good I could imagine more camping trips in her future. I’m sure most of you know how much Marcia loved nature and camping trips.
One of those trips took place up on the Poudre River several years ago. When we did these trips, Marcia and Rolin would prepare the breakfasts and Tom and I would do dinners. On this particular trip we were enjoying a wonderful breakfast of bacon and eggs and great conversation, when who should come lumbering up to the campsite next to us but a beautiful cinnamon-colored bear! Marcia, being the food scientist that she was, told me to get the pans. We grabbed these frying pans with the bacon grease and headed for our camper. So there we were, confined in a pop-up camper with canvas sides, which any decent bear could have shredded, had he decided that he really wanted that bacon grease! But not to worry. Rolin and Tom were chasing after him, trying to see where he was going next.
Marcia loved the outdoors, but not great heights. I found this out on one trip where we found an old fire tower that we could climb up and look out over the area. Rolin and I earned our official Squirrel Cards, and enjoyed a spectacular view, but had to wave to Marcia and Tom who remained firmly planted on the ground below.
One thing some of you might not know is that Marcia was a mom. She just decided to let other women do all the hard work like birthing, feeding, and cleaning up. She had her little niece, Katie, whom we so often heard about. And she had her Godchildren who were so special to her. She loved them all with a mother’s heart. When my older girls were heading off to college, Marcia told them that there are some things they might not want to tell their mom and some things they probably shouldn’t tell me, but that was OK because they could tell her. I don’t know if they ever did because I would never break the trust they had with her, their “other mom.” And for our youngest daughter she was the “sports mom.” I’m not a good Little League-type mom so often Marcia took on those duties. She would go and watch Lizzie play basketball or softball and in Lizzie’s words, “She was always the loudest mom at the game.” Lizzie felt so honored by Marcia. One reason that our girls would go to mass once they left for college was just to have dinner with Marcia after 5PM Mass. I remember one dinner when there were too many of us to sit at one table so Marcia and the girls sat together in a booth and even had a beer together, undoubtedly sharing things their mom would not want to know! I was so happy that my girls had a most wonderful woman as their “other mom.”
We did have one sport in common and that was college football. We followed my Buffs and her Purdue Boilermakers, although I always wondered how someone could go to a school with the initials PU. She was such a hard core Purdue fan, and Tom still had this hanging in his office from some Purdue football party we had.(Show Purdue sign)
My deepest connection with Marcia, though, was through our Small Faith Sharing group. Many years ago we met when we both attended a 12 week course that Fr. Paul taught here at St. Toms called “Becoming Catholic even if you happen to be one.” That was Marcia, always trying to learn more and go deeper in the faith that was so much a part of her. After that class a number of us joined together into a faith sharing group that still meets today. Marcia had a passion for Catholicism which she readily shared with others. She was an ardent Catholic feminist who thoughtfully and prayerfully inspired me and my daughters, among others, with her passion. She talked the talk and walked the walk. Her faith permeated her entire being. You couldn’t help but feel so glad to be a part of the same faith community.
Yes, my friend, Marcia died this week, but she lives on in the legacy she left behind. And I am certain that on Monday afternoon the gates of Heaven were thrown open and she was welcomed with the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Welcome home.
It's been almost nine months now and I still miss her so much. But I bet my sister, Debbie, baked her a cake up in Heaven!