Life and Death

When my father died in November 1983, it was a sudden and shocking blow that come right in the middle of Jan and my preparations for our marriage in December. The wedding (and Christmas) were profoundly healing reminders of life and grace, though emotionally it was a huge roller coaster.

God, continuing that tradition of dramatically juxtaposing life and death in the most Good Fridayish and Eastery of ways, has seen fit to take my Mom, whose name “Phyllis” means “foliage” on Palm Sunday. You can almost hear the two of them laughing about it, reminding me that things aren’t so bad as all that.

And what is more, last week on Tuesday morning (the day after we visited mom), I was awakened by the sound of Jan bustling about in the dark. Barely awake, I mumbled, “What’s going on?” She chirped merrily in a sing son voice, “Today’s the day they give babies away, with half a pound of butter!”

I drifted back to sleep for a while until, somewhere down there at the bottom of Lethe, I dimly recalled that this was the International Janet Signal that a mom was in labor and a baby was imminent. I snapped awake and said, “Whaaaaa?”

Our daughter-in-law, Claire was in labor!

To make a long story short, on April 8, our beautiful and perfect new grand-daughter, Seraphim Anduin Shea, was born weighing in at a very respectable 8 lbs., looking remarkably like her father, Matthew (aka Cow) at that age and displaying a fine head of beautiful black hair like her thoroughly black Irish mother. Below are some pictures:

I would have told you before now, but the news was embargoed till Cow and Claire got to make their announcements.

So World: Meet Seraphim Anduin Shea, a sign that God means for life to go on in the midst of sorrow. It doesn’t get much more Eastery than that. Thanks be to God through our Lord Jesus Christ.


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