In memory of my maternal grandmother Ruth Gutshall Blocher, on this 110th anniversary of her birth, this photo of her with my sister Karen at my sister’s wedding in 1986:
My uncle, The Rev. James Carter, B.A., M.Div., Colonel US Army (ret.), died on May 31. He was 80 years old.
He was an US Army chaplain who served tours of duty in Viet Nam and Korea; pastored a church in Ellensburg, Washington; and ended his career as a hospital chaplain.
Uncle Jim is survived by his wife, Margaret, to whom he was married exactly four weeks shy of 60 years; his son Brad of Rhode Island; and his daughter Cindy of the Kansas City area.
He’ll be buried next week with full military honors at Ft. Scott, Kansas.
Ten years ago, my first road trip after moving to Saint Louis was to Uncle Jim and Aunt Margaret’s 50th wedding anniversary. Here’s a photo from that day:
L-R: Uncle Jim and Aunt Margaret, their children Brad and Cindy, my father, sister Karen, Pop’s wife JoAnne, sister Beth, and me. This was the last time we were all together in the same place.
Sorting through my father’s belongings recently, I found several photos from a Thanksgiving visit in Jefferson City in 1996. At center in these two photos are my grandmother Flora Carter. She died in 2000 after a decline related to dementia.
Uncle Jim and Aunt Marg are at left; my mother and father are at right. This was the last time any of them saw my mother, since she did not return to the USA after her final departure on Christmas Eve 1996.
Grandma doted on her two boys. Their ages in this photo would be 59, 86, and 61.
Today would have been my father’s 18th wedding anniversary. He married JoAnne in 2000 on this date.
And my sisters and I looked like this 18 years ago today:
E’en so, Lord Jesus, quickly come, and night shall be no more. They need no light, nor lamp, nor sun, for Christ shall be their all.
This prayer is mine tonight, as my father lingers yet. His nurse said again tonight “he’s making his way,” but slowly and in his . . . and God’s . . . own time.
He is no longer recognizing us, and has not spoken today. His breathing has changed, and we are aware of other signs of the progress toward death.
But he’s still here.
Great-niece Lily visited again today. So did my niece Anna.
This is one cute child…..
As one expects, today has been filled with some laughter, some tears, some quiet time holding my father’s hand.
As I write on Thursday evening, Pop is still hanging on, and still knew me when I said “good night.” His “Hi, son” when I arrived midday was a delight to hear.
And after working for several hours in his [very] dusty office, and displacing said dust repeatedly, I have a cough. Some Tullamore Dew is in the cup to fight said cough.
My eldest niece Kristen is a saint. She’s an RN, and she has been the caregiver d’extraordinaire these last two days. She’s also run interference and explanation with the professionals from hospice, about whom I cannot say enough good as well.
We dined tonight, my sisters and niece and step-sister and step-mother, at the dining room table, with me now at the head, on a roasted chicken, some new potatoes, green beans, and yummy strawberry cupcakes. This was the first square meal I’d had in a few days, and I think we all needed it. Part of my mission the next few days is to cook at least one meal a day.
As I commenced Operation OfficeKP today, I found a few bonbons that I’ll share: my father’s National Guard photo from 1959, a clipping that was inexplicably attached to this same photo, and a handwritten verse of scripture in his meticulous penmanship.
But first, a commendatory prayer:
Into your hands, O merciful Savior, we commend your servant Richard. Acknowledge, we humbly beseech you, a sheep of your own fold, a lamb of your own flock, a sinner of your
own redeeming. Receive him into the arms of your mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of the saints in light. Amen.