When tomorrow starts without me,
and I'm not there to see,
If the sun should rise and find your eyes
All filled with tears for me:
I wish you wouldn't cry
The way you did today,
While thinking of the many things,
We didn't get to say.
I know how much you love me,
As much as I love you,
And each time that you think of me,
I know you'll miss me too:
But when tomorrow starts without me,
Please try to understand,
That an angel came and called my name,
And took me by the hand.
And said my place was ready,
In heaven far above,
And that I'd have to leave behind
All those I dearly love.
But as I turned to walk away,
A tear fell from my eye
For all my life, I'd always thought,
I didn't want to die.
I had so much to live for,
So much left yet to do,
It seemed almost impossible,
That I was leaving you.
I thought of all the yesterdays,
The good ones and the bad,
I thought of all the love we shared,
And all the fun we had.
If I could relive yesterday,
Just even for a while,
I'd say good-bye and kiss you
And maybe see you smile.
But then I fully realized,
That this could never be,
For emptiness and memories,
Would take the place of me.
And when I thought of worldly things,
I might miss come tomorrow,
I thought of you, and when I did,
My heart was filled with sorrow.
But when I walked through heaven's gates,
I felt so much at home.
When God looked down and smiled at me,
From His great golden throne,
He said, "This is eternity.
And all I've promised you.
Today your life on earth is past,
But here life starts anew.
I promise no tomorrow,
But today will always last,
And since each day's the same way
There's no longing for the past.
You have been so faithful,
So trusting and so true.
Though there were times
You did some things
You knew you shouldn't do.
But you have been forgiven
And now at last you're free.
So won't you come and take my hand
And share my life with me?
So when tomorrow starts without me,
Don't think we're far apart,
For every time you think of me,
I'm right here, in your heart.
- eulogy -
Written May 7, 2012 1:23pm
This is the eulogy I gave at my Mom's funeral last week.
Cancer is terrible.
I heard this from so many people during Mom’s illness. I’m not sure I agree. I agree in that it took a woman who we will all miss dearly but it also brought many blessings.
It gave my Mom and all of us who call her a friend and family, the chance to appreciate one another. To realize that most of the petty things in life are just that – petty. That the time spent with each other is really what matters.
It gave my family the opportunity to have Mom live with us in my house. To have my children get to know Grandma on a very personal level. For my Mom to have the chance to experience her grandchildren on a daily basis – to greet them when they came home from school, to help them with their homework, share their successes, see their worries.
I think the most important thing it brought though was the realization of how many people love our Mother. How many people gave up their time and energies to come spend time with her and care for her. I would love to mention by name all the people but I am afraid I will leave someone out and quite honestly I think Father may ask me to sit down eventually because the list is just so long. But so many of you came day after day to care for her, bring food, send letters, and create special outings and memories for her. This wasn’t just helpful to my sisters, Dad and I but also reminded my Mother in her last few months how special she was to so many people.
And wow… look at all the love in this room! What a testament to the love she sowed!
My Mom had an uncanny knack for making people feel more comfortable even in awkward situations. When we were kids we had something I think they called Friendship Sunday once a month where they served donuts after church (of course we called it donut Sunday). It was a hot summer day and my Mom had her typical comfortable sundress on. A friend from church came running up to her, put her hand on my mothers arm and exclaimed, “Oh, congratulations! When is the baby due?” In what could have been an uncomfortable situation for this woman, my mother turned it around by saying, “Oh, no… I’m not pregnant. I’m just fat and comfortable!”
She also had the ability to make you do things that you should do but didn’t really want to. My sisters and I (and probably many of you sitting here today) got phone calls on a regular basis asking for money, food, time or whatever to help someone in need. It didn’t quite go like this… and my Mom would be mad about me saying it this way.. but if felt something like this…. “Bri, can you write me a check for $50? I can’t tell you who its for but I can tell you they really need it. I understand if you can’t. I mean their children will starve but I understand if you would rather go out to dinner.” I always wrote the check. Sound familiar to anyone else?
After my mom died, I called a very good friend of hers to let her know. This woman is one of the strongest and resilient woman I know – she survived the Holocaust, losing her family and immigration to America. She told me that she has always valued my mother’s advice. That it was amazing to her how as an 80 year old woman, someone as young as my mother could give her such wise advice. I think her entire life my Mom had wisdom beyond her years.
When she dropped me off at college she was only 37 years old. When I looked around at my dorm mates’ parents they were the age of my grandparents. People thought she was my sister. Despite her early wisdom she did manage to embarrass me on her first visit to see me in college. She decided to eat dinner with my friends and I in the dining hall. Once we had gathered our food, we settled down at a corner table to eat. At some point, I realized my mom had the weirdest look on her face and her cheeks were puffed out like she really wanted to spit out what she had in her mouth. Turns out she thought she had a nice bowl of pudding. It was really mayonnaise!
I am not sure if everyone knows but my mother and father built the house we grew up in with their own hands. They cut the trees and used the lumber from those trees to build the house. Until I was about sixteen the house did not have electricity or running water. We pumped the water from a hand pump, heated it on a wood stove that we also used to cook dinner and used kerosene lanterns for light. Its not every woman who has enough pioneer spirit to live this way nor is strong enough to actually do the building. Holly told me of a memory of when they were building the house of Mom holding up a beam as my dad frantically hammered it while my Mom yelled “Hurry up Jim!!!”
When I was just a year old, my parents moved to Kentucky and lived in a small trailer they pulled behind their car so my Dad could attend Forestry school. I slept under the kitchen table and my sister, when she was born, slept in an apple box. I guess at that time my Mom was just 20 years old. She said that her time there was what drove her seek social justice for others. She saw the mountains strip mined and how it affected the lives of their residents.
She was frugal when it came to our living – probably so she could use the money to help others. We grew a huge vegetable garden and she spent most summers canning the food that would take us through the winter. We shopped at yard sales and thrift shops. My parents were green – reduce , reuse and recycle – long before it was cool. In their first year of marriage my father earned $3000 and they were able to save $1200 of it.
That is amazing.
While she was frugal with money, she was never frugal with her time. Besides helping her entire community she was a very hands on parent. We participated in every 4-H event there was – public speaking, demonstration day, project day, spring livestock day. She came to every field hockey game we played, every school event. She was a mom to not just us but every friend who came into our house. My sisters and I were just lucky enough that we got to call her Mom.
I am sure most of you are aware of her many volunteer efforts. 4-H, Port Tobacco River Conservancy, Housing Commission, Stop the Airport Now, SMASH…. The list goes on. And all those are important. However, a few weeks before my Mom died I was talking to her and told her that I was proud of those accomplishments but that it was the “little” things she did that made the most difference in people lives. Her common sense approach to life – her ability to not judge someone but accept them for who they were – her lack of fear to step into a “sticky” situation and help. When other people would stand by and say “not me” or “they probably don’t want my help” or “I shouldn’t interfere”, she rolled up her sleeves and jumped right in. When I told her that she understood immediately and told me she had received a letter recently that reinforced that thought.
I guess I was about four or five when we met a family nearby - a couple and their young daughter. As a young child myself I may not have gotten all the details right or known exactly what was happening but I did know that even though we were not “rich” in the monetary sense, this family had much less than us. That there was conflict in the family and perhaps violence. That I felt sadness and maybe some fear when I visited them. That didn’t stop my Mom. I remember her sitting and listening to the mom, inviting the daughter to come play with us at our house – being a friend the Mom could trust. Apparently, a year or two ago, my Mom received a letter from that scared Mom just letting her know that she was safe now and happy and thanking my Mom for her help. My Mom made all the difference in the world to that Mom and probably her daughter. She may have broken a cycle of violence that could have continued for generations – and all because she wasn’t afraid of getting involved.
She encouraged all of us to be better people, to try things we didn’t think we could do. Sometimes against our will. J She made my sisters and I do 4-H public speaking every year even though it was scary. Standing here now I swear I can see her in the audience mouthing to sssllllowwww dowwwwn like she did every year during our competitions.
Another great benefit of cancer is it gives you time to ask questions – ones you wouldn’t normally ask. In the last few months we wrote down what we called “Lessons from the Grandparents”. Different things that she wanted to make sure her grandchildren knew. Looking at them though I think its something that all of us can benefit from…
1. Choose your battles wisely – Not all fights are worth winning. Sometimes its best to let someone win the battle so you are better armed to win the war. I use this with my kids all the time. Most things like hair length and what they are wearing are not important. The real war is making sure that they grow up happy and productive people.
2. Don’t assume something can be used the most obvious way – if you know my Mom you know she took this one to heart. How many ways can a Safeway grocery bag be used? Trash bag, tote bag, raincoat, packing material… the list goes on. And when it came to food it was even more evident – “Let’s see .. we have salsa and tapioca pudding… sure that will make a great topping for this cake!”
3. Walk in anothers shoes. Experience how other people live. Not just have dinner in their house but immerse yourself to find out what makes their family and community tick.
4. Act honorably: And a direct quote from my Mom, “the world will be a better place for it. You can set a tone for your community – set an example.”
5. “Never be afraid to do small things with great love” And again a direct quote from Mom, “You are like god’s present to the world and his messenger. Do nice things for people without any thought of reciprocation. “
And one more that we didn’t discuss but I thought of today. My Mom loved music. She LOVED to sing. Now she had many blessings from God but he did NOT bless her with a good singing voice. However, that never stopped her from singing. I remember sitting in a pew in this church as a child with my Mom at the end of the pew holding us hostage while she sang with glee the recessional song. Every other family was out the door but she would not leave or let us leave until the last note was sung. So one more lesson would be “sing with glee even if think you can’t sing”. At the end of mass we will be singing Amazing Grace – after the bagpipes leave, please join in and sing with glee in honor of my Mom!
Mom wanted today to be a celebration of life – not just hers but everyone in this room. Walk out this door today and celebrate her life by living yours. Remember the things that really matter – forming and growing relationships. Make your community a better place and know that my Mom is proud of all the love you sow.
And I will just finish with my Mother’s morning prayer.
Today is the day the Lord has made… Let us be glad and rejoice!
Written Apr 30, 2012 6:53am
Constance (Connie) Ann Dunbar died Thursday, April 26, 2012 at her home in La Plata, MD. Born September 28, 1950 in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Connie was the daughter of the late Jack and Roberta Ann Buckley.
A lifelong volunteer and advocate, some of her many commitments included Charles County 4-H, Charles County Housing Commission, Port Tobacco River Conservancy, Point Lookout Prisoner of War Descendents Organization, Charles County Grant Committee and an active member and dedicated volunteer of Sacred Heart Catholic Church for 35 years. After her cancer diagnosis, she founded a cancer support group to help others deal with their illnesses. She was a founder of Southern Maryland Self Help (SMASH), a church based organization that drastically changed the lives of those with no voice of their own and she introduced Charles County to the concept of “community organizing”. She was a dynamic voice for social justice issues and advocated for the poor. Some of her accomplishments included identifying funding to assist those living without indoor plumbing; seeking changes to state and local laws to allow alternative septic systems; and helping to clear home titles for the poor so they could demonstrate legal ownership.
She promoted 4-H in Charles County and the important work of the Charles County Extension Office. She volunteered for 4-H for over 35 years because of her deep love for children and her desire to inspire their curiosity and build their confidence. She could be found at the county fair as the 4-H building superintendent from sun-up to sun-down helping children discover their love of learning. Connie was a woman who found joy in the beauty of nature. She had a deep appreciation for protecting our natural resources and she lived those values in her daily life. Her concern for the future viability of one of Charles County’s natural and historical treasures led her to help the Port Tobacco River Conservancy.
She was loved by many for her common sense and ability to love everyone without judgment. She served many with her special gift to listen patiently, offer guidance and inspire all who knew her to strive to do more. Her family extended well beyond those that were related by blood. She had a special affinity for children, especially her grandchildren.
She enjoyed her art class, music, traveling, gardening and canning, and spending time outdoors and with her family and friends she called family.
She is survived by her husband of 42 years, Jim Dunbar of La Plata, MD, daughters Brianna Bowling of Dentsville, MD, Holly Dunbar of Newburg, MD and Fawn Kildoo of Alexandria, VA; grandchildren Forrest, Andrew and Georgia Bowling, Sage and Ivy Phillips; son-in-laws Dan Bowling, Sam Phillips and Tom Kildoo; sisters Elaine Atkinson, Margaret Thrift, and Helen Brierley; and brothers John Buckley and Kevin Buckley.
Gathering will be held Friday, May 4, 2012 from 9 am until Mass of Christian Burial at 10:30 am at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 201 St. Mary’s Avenue, La Plata, MD 20646. Burial will be held on the family farm and a luncheon will follow.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to either Charles County 4-H Volunteers Association or St. Ignatius Church Building Fund.
I am very sad to report the loss of one our beloved
DOPL members and Vice Chair of CMPI,
It is with deep regret that I inform you of the passing of CMP Vice Chair Joseph C. Dunbar at the age of 65. Joe died on Jan 29 at the Charlotte Hall Veterans Home of kidney failure. Those of you CMP and Old Brunswick SCV Camp members that were at the May 2007 work weekend May recall meeting Joe for the first time. He was the man that stopped to ask if we could use a tractor with a front-end loader and implements. At the time we were hard at work with hand shovels and wheelbarrows. He returned 20 minutes later not only with the equipment but also with liquid refreshments and additional people to lend a hand.
From that day forward, he was a devoted and resourceful asset to CMP. Not only did he obtain two riding lawn mowers but he also kept the grass cut. Local residents told me that Joe could be seen cutting the grass before sunrise. He recruited people in the community to maintain the mowers and do the trimming as well as help with much of the labor needed during construction. He was renowned for promoting our mission and purpose throughout St. Mary’s County. CMP benefited greatly from his countless friends and associations with businesses in the county. Ever since Joe’s involvement with CMP, there has not been one incidence of vandalism or theft at the park. It was Joe that provided the hogs and cookers for two BBQs - one for a work weekend and one for the evening before the dedication.
Some of the other donations that Joe was able to obtain include granite dedication plates, flag pole donor plates and shrubbery.
The Maryland Division SCV obtained a memorial membership from SCV National HQ and sent in a cash donation in his name to CMP. Local SCV camps Bowling and Camalier attended his funeral in uniform. The family published his involvement with CMP in his obituary. We flew the battle flag at half mast for a week in his memory and service.
CMP has lost a great asset and I have lost a great friend.
Jim Dunbar, Chairman CMP
STACY "WADE" HARRIS
May 5, 1934 - March 24, 2009
My heart is heavy as I send this message to inform you of the passing of one of our greatest defenders of our Confederate heritage and truly one of my best and dearest friends, Wade Harris, of Youngsville, NC.
Wade was a charter member of our Lee's Miserables POW reenactors and a member of our Pt. Lookout POW Descendants' Organization, for fifteen years! We could always count on Wade to "be there," honoring his Pt. Lookout ancestors during our Pilgrimages and at our meetings. He was a tremendous help to me over the years. It was always so nice for him to contact me, rather than me asking for help. He'd say, "What can 'I' do to help you at Pt. Lookout." It always 'made my day' when I saw him walk across those grounds. He was our oldest, yet most active POW reenactor! He led by setting an example. He was an inspiration to all of us!
I will always remember his enthusiasm, his smile, his voice, his love of our heritage. Wade drove up from NC to Pt. Lookout, MD, with his family and one of his best friends, Linwood O'Neil, for one of our first work weekends to start building Confederate Memorial Park. He worked right along with the rest of our crew. We have fond memories of Wade on that weekend, as every time you'd turn around, Wade was searching where he misplaced his cup of coffee. He played and sang for us that night, around the campfire...then we hopped in the back of Linwood's truck and went hunting for Pt. Lookout ghosts.
I was privileged to be joined by Wade, along with 15,000 other dedicated Southerners, as we marched with our flags on the capitol of SC to save the battle flag atop its dome. We spent many days at Pt. Lookout in the hot sweltering sun, monsoons (including a tropical storm), blusterous winds, as well as freezing cold. We have also battled mud, protestors, mosquitoes, ticks, yankees, and the Veterans Adm! And, we have bowed our heads in humble admiration for the sufferings of our ancestors who were imprisoned there. We held hands as we closed our descendants meetings as he sang "Dixie." Wade was instrumental in raisings funds to purchase and have placed the 1st National CSA Flag Pole on the grounds of Confederate Memorial Park. He made a CD to honor our ancestors imprisoned in Pt. Lookout, with all the proceeds going toward CMP. He also traveled to give Pt. Lookout programs to various organizations, educating people on the history of Pt. Lookout Prison Camp. It was our honor to have Wade sing "I'm A Good Ole Rebel" as the prisoners' flag was raised on "CMP Dedication Day, September 2009" and also end our program, singing "Dixie."
Wade was a family man who taught his children and grandchildren to not only honor and respect those who have gone on before us, but to do the same for those here today. His children/grandchildren can still be heard saying "Yes mam and No sir" to their elders. Wade had recently lost his wife/best friend and had grieved so much for her. It was as if he had lost his will to remain here with us, for wanting to be with her. Now....once again, they walk together. As you read this, he has already obtained his Rebel Gray Wings and he's probably singing Martha a love ballad. And after he gets through 'courting her,' you can bet he'll be shaking hands with Gen. Lee and giving his Pt. Lookout ancestors, John & Wade Harris, a good ole Rebel Yell!
Wade was a giant among big people and leaves shoes that can not be filled.
My love and condolences to his family.
PLPOW Descendants Org.
October 14, 1955 - April 13, 2009
Seth David Latham
November 28, 1934 - November 29, 2007