Monday, January 5, 2009

Remembering Kay

Catherine Collamore Gisel
September 30, 1919 - January 1, 2009

Recently, a cousin of mine, Lois emailed this note: “It's too bad we wait until after a person is gone to give them affirmation and say the nice things! When we were kids I used to hear the song -- in fact maybe mom sang it – ‘Give me the roses while I live’ and it ended with ‘useless the flowers that you give, after the soul has gone.’”

Fortunately, we have the joy of knowing that we expressed our love and appreciation to our stepmom. One week ago today, Kay seemed healthy, and was so happy to be celebrating Christmas with my family. Our family gave a memory book to our stepmom. It contained photos and letters telling of favorite times with Kay and things that we loved about her. Kay was so touched by the book and cried when she received it. We were happy that we took the time to write the letters and for Donna's creative endeavor to make it look beautiful. Three days later, Kay died suddenly of a massive stroke. Today was her funeral.

Funerals challenge me to live life better. They are reminders of what is really important.

Kay was a good wife for my dad. Married 19 years and 4 months, they had a special love. I stayed with Dad for a week in April 2008 while Kay went to visit her daughter. While there, I saw again how much my dad loved Kay. He told me that they never went to sleep without a good night kiss and prayer. I was with Dad and Kay for a several days this spring before Dad died. They were not able to sleep in the same room because of Dad’s illness but each night he would walk across the living room and I could hear them pray together and kiss before bed. It was very dear. They were sweet together. I remember one weekend in Chicago when Dad was 85 years old. He proudly carried Kay’s purse for the entire weekend because it was too heavy for her. They usually walked holding hands. Dad’s face lit up when Kay walked in the room. Dad often remarked that Kay was so pretty—and she was a beautiful person. Dad was proud of her.

Kay with the youngest two step great grands, Jacob and Madelyn Kay, named after Grandma Kay.

Kay wrote poems. Tonight, Bob was at church working as a volunteer. The house was quiet and I looked and found some of Kay’s poetry. Kay had a very sensitive, quiet, gentle spirit. I thought about Kay, her love for beauty, vacation times, her children, her grandchildren and her husband. She loved nature and appreciated being able to see and hear. She disliked the wind and cold days. She dreaded old age and the thought of going to a nursing home. Others’ pain brought Kay grief. Her poems were permeated with her faith in God. Her favorite season was Spring. She loved flowers and trees and birds and a dog named, Ruff.

Here are the titles of some of her poems: My Prayer, Spring—to Me, Where Beauty Lies, Linda, Plea to the Wind, A Trip to the Smokies, Vacation’s Over, Springtime in the Woods, A Green Cathedral, To a Cardinal, To My Husband, Counting My Blessings, Birthday Thoughts, Birthday Thoughts to Jerry, Portrait, An Unwelcome Guest, Ode To a Rocking Chair, Mother’s Day, My Baptism, Through My Windowpane, Spring Garden, Special Thoughts, A Winter Day, God’s Gifts, Frustration, Nursing Home Blues, Peace, Spring, To Robby, and To Ruff.

He is There

Each day,
He’s there beside me,
As I walk
The path of life;
Be there clouds or sunshine,
He is there
To urge me on.
When I fall or stumble
O’er the rocks of time,
He is there –
His arms extended
To soften all the blows.

When at night
I feel so weary
From the problems of the day;
And I kneel to thank Him
For all His blessedness;
He’s there –
To say “I love you,
Sleep now,
Rest in peace.”

by Catherine Collamore Gisel


Kathi said...

What a beautiful tribute and remembrance!

Donna's Book Nook said...

What a wonderful remembrance of Kay! I am so glad that we made the scrapbook and affirmed our love for her. Donna

Julie said...

Thank you for sharing about Kay. I feel privileged to have read about her. What a sweet looking lady.