On Life and Death: Mildred Ornellas

life-cycle-picture

Note: Ten years ago my little family and I were caught in a whirlwind (pun) of ‘life and death’. In the course of just a few short days, I learned that my wife was pregnant with our third child, visited my grandmother for the last time, flew to Houston just hours later for a wedding that occurred during Hurricane Ike and came home just in time for her funeral, then celebrated my fourth wedding anniversary two days later.

Below is a slightly edited and updated version of the eulogy I gave back then. I was 28 years-old at the time. I’ve tried to leave it in its original state as much as possible, focusing instead on making it readable, as opposed to notes for a presentation in front of an audience. Whether you knew grandma or not, it’s worth a read as so many eulogies and obituaries are, yet this one comes with extra… umph. – J.

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September 16, 2008

I don’t really know what I am supposed to say here; my experience with funerals is fortunately limited.

But, I was asked to give and I wanted to give some of my thoughts and memories concerning my my maternal grandmother. I had to prepare this on a whim last night at 3am (with mild jet-lag) so bear with me… I’m working on two hours of sleep, and the last many days, as you will see, have been… intense.

I have few childhood or teenage memories that don’t include my grandma. Indeed, I was very close to her. I feel lucky to have been able to really have two mothers in my life; blessed to be counted among her extended children.

These childhood memories do not go back far enough to remember any other home of hers than the trailer she lived in down by LaCamas Lake in Camas, WA—a very humble home; one that would act as my second for over 20 years. It was a home that I entered into too young to understand the social stigmas that come with the ownership of a ‘house’ that has wheels underneath it. It was in this home, with this woman, that so many of my memories were created. It was there and with her that much of who I am was formed.

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The Nonsense of Life

boat-962791_640There are so many motifs that one can use to describe or explain their angst, anxiety, sin, etc.

Some point to pride.

Others to an inordinate desire to control anything else in life save our ‘response’ in any given situation.

For me, it is my desire for things and people and experiences to make sense; for life to make sense. To make sense to meContinue reading

Cleanse the Temple: The Sex Abuse Scandal in the Catholic Church

One would need to be living under a metaphorical rock to have not heard about the most recent Catholic priest sex abuse scandal, which is shaking not only the Church in the United States, but has reached all the way to the up the highest levels of the of the Church.

This problem isn’t new, of course.

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