This still happens, when people are religious leaders. But what happens when you are dealing with normal, everyday people?
Here is your assignment. Read the following story from the Chicago Sun-Times. Here is a glimpse of how it starts:
The rest of the world receded a little when pretty Patricia Assise watched cute Lou DeMuro play 16-inch softball at Kells Park on the West Side. It was the summer of ’47.
They were engaged by the following Valentine’s Day and married later that year. Their life together had few frills but many laughs. They would sing the 1950s hit “How Much is That Doggie in the Window?” They listened to the soundtracks from “South Pacific” and “Mary Poppins” hundreds of times. The louder their kids sang along, the more the DeMuros smiled.
“It was a simple life, but it was rich,” said their daughter, Jan Griffin. “I remember Dad barbecuing and getting the biggest kick out of watching us play.” …
The DeMuros were a tag team when it came to raising their three kids: Jan, Lou and David. When Mr. DeMuro got home from work, he was a hands-on parent, so Patricia DeMuro could head to her night job. They roller-skated, bowled and played pinochle together and even used his-and-hers lawnmowers to mow their grass side-by-side, said their son Lou.
They did everything together.
So it was fitting that, at the end, they died together, succumbing within hours of each other from a multitude of ailments.
Read it all. Then pick out what you think is the most inspiring quotation or symbolic detail. Go head, please.
For this to work you need to stop reading this post for a second and read the story. Otherwise, go read something else. Deal?
OK, let’s proceed.
Here is the passage that grabbed me. I predict that I am not alone. I’ll include the material that frames the symbolic moment.
They had moved just last month to the San Diego area, to be near their daughter. But Mr. DeMuro — who had leukemia, Parkinson’s disease and diabetes — soon was in hospice care at their senior apartment. And Mrs. DeMuro — with diabetes, high blood pressure and heart failure — was soon on a ventilator at Sharp Grossmont Hospital.
Their children knew it was only a matter of time. So, on June 28, they had an ambulance bring Mr. DeMuro to the hospital on a gurney to be with his wife. He greeted his bride of 62 years as he always had: “Hi, Babe.”
“They had them facing one another in their individual beds, and we put their hands on top of one another so they could hold hands,” their daughter said. “Mom was awake. She said, ‘Lou, I love you. I had a wonderful life. I’ll see you in another place.’ ”
The DeMuros spent a contented couple of hours near each other. Then, it was time for Lou DeMuro to go back to hospice.
“I had to tell Dad, ‘You aren’t going to see Mom again,” their daughter said.
At 1:20 p.m. that day, Mrs. DeMuro slipped away.
Mr. DeMuro grew restless and distraught. He was gone at 6:45 p.m.
It’s that simple, yet very romantic, exchange that starts with, “Hi, Babe.” That did it for me.
This is, of course, a reference to heaven. The story, to this point has told us all kinds of practical family details, right down to the lawnmowers and the couple’s love of Italian cooking. But something is missing, something that sets up that inspiring quotation that is the emotional heart of the story.
So what details are we given about the role of faith in this tight-knit family?
A celebration of their lives is being planned for later this year at Our Lady of Sorrows Cemetery in Hillside.
Oh, there is more.
The DeMuros’ kids had an old-fashioned Chicago upbringing. They lived in a two-flat with relatives upstairs. The children went to school across the street at Our Lady Help of Christians. They’d come home for lunch.
That’s it. We are told that Sunday was the day for pot roast. Was that true during Great Lent, as well?
I think something is missing here. I think a crucial piece of the romance is missing, a piece that is linked to that lovely farewell quotation.
Art: Our Lady Help of Christians