LIFE GOES ON
by Mary Johnsen
Yes, agreed, life does go on but it isn’t the same for those who are suffering after the death of a close family member. Days will come and go as they have for centuries but life is not the same for those for whom the desired phone calls are never coming again. The town too is changed but it too goes on.
It is hard to imagine what Billy and Karen Laux and their son Daniel must be feeling especially because David was only 55 at the time of his death. For youth that may seem like a long life but for those of us over that age, that death was many years too early. This town loved David Laux! It was noted what a wonderful son he was to those parents of his, very deserving people in their own right.
The service for David was held on Friday the 7th in a packed Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church on the hillside over town. No matter their faith or lack thereof, the mourners came to express their love of David with, hopefully, that love very clear to his folks. The spirit of the affair was powerful. The sense that the town is there for the Laux family was evident. It was a sad and beautiful ceremony on a beautiful day.
The Laux service was followed by that for Tommy Smith on Sunday afternoon the 9th at the Unity Church of the Gold Country in Grass Valley. Those in attendance numbered around 75, many of them relatives. Tommy grew up here in Downieville and Goodyears so the filled rows of people from his true home spoke to “being there” for his family and each other. Again the sense of community love and support was intense.
Tommy, 87, and his wife of 65 years Aura Lee, who died last year, lived a full and rich life. Tommy’s stories of his youthful days are written in a delightful booklet which should find its way around town because the town is featured in them; captured in them in fact.
Perhaps unfortunately, but most likely normally, people find themselves looking around and wondering who is next. Those in their 80s and 90s recognize that their days to celebrate the holidays are numbered. But then, their thoughts may turn to the difficult time faced by those for whom that familiar and most welcome smile is not present and won’t be again. The holidays for the newly bereaved may be a time of suffering that most recent loss and those that went before.
There is no “recovery” but there is, hopefully the reconciliation to going on in life without that special person. Many have duties to care for those relatives still here. And maybe the accumulation of loss makes the holiday season a time for many precious memories of the warm times spent together, those memories to be shared and cherished. When that happens, those memories of happier and sadder times, the smiles and tears may appear at the same time.
The Chinese have a saying that a person is not truly dead until those who knew them have died. They may be right!
Meanwhile, the town still lives, the river runs by and life goes on.