June 20, 1999

Dear Laura,

Today we will gather at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Parish to celebrate your life and share the Holy Eucharist. Mom and Dad were married here May 24, 1947, and you grew up in this church. Dad offered a comically nervous spoonerism, “I trite thee my ploth,” as a wedding vow and never set foot in our familial house of worship again. Back then it was the Cathedral … go figure! Do you remember your confirmation? Shortly after your 12th birthday, February 7, 1965, we also gathered at St. Stephen’s to honor your dedicated study and receive the blessed Body and Blood of our Risen Saviour. I was the attending acolyte and was exceedingly proud of my little sister. You were glowing in your white dress and mantilla cascading over that signature strawberry blond hair … courtesy of a recessive gene that allowed for Grandfather Chapman’s red beard. Someone snapped our sacramental picture. We were outward and visible signs of an inward and spiritual grace.

I was assertive with the interim minister in scheduling today’s memorial service. He expressed a desire to feed his Koi fish in their outdoor pond as usual on a Sunday afternoon. I suggested today would be the exception to his routine as this was the most convenient day for family and friends to congregate and pray for the repose of your soul. Since we were little I fought many of your battles, Laura … big and small. Today was no exception.

There was an abundance of love in God’s house for you as we assembled to remember your vibrant life approach including that delighted laugh when you got a case of the giggles. Your favorite nieces and nephew were in the front row. You were more than their baby-sitter, Laura. You were loved, and you were family. Your best friend from high school had a tear in her eye. Your nurse/caregiver for the past 6 months and I offered loving remembrances during the homily portion of the service. Judy had become your new best friend, especially when you had to visit the dreaded dentist.

It was difficult to say goodbye, but we were comforted by your eternal presence with the Lord. You will suffer no more. I have just begun a journey which will require a new form of detachment. As time passes I hope to learn about and incorporate the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference!

Love, Brad

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