One of the most fabulous parts of my “job” as a Bridges leader is that I am able to form wonderful relationships with elders who inspire me. For many years, Fran G. was a volunteer in Bridges in my hometown. She was always so eager to collaborate in small groups with her partner and the elementary school students. She relished her time with them, smiling the entire time. Even when Fran could no longer drive, she was happy for us to arrange transportation for her to get to the Bridges sessions. But then, even that got to be too much.
Last week, I was privileged to attend Fran’s funeral mass where I learned more about her life of 94 years. Again, I was so inspired.
Fran was married for nearly 50 years – and she and her husband clearly balanced each other out for their children. I hope that my children may say the same of my husband and me– and that someday, we will celebrate 50 years of marriage – maybe even more!
- Fran’s greatest accomplishment and source of pride was her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I do feel the same way – and hope my boys know it! As her grandchildren participated in the prayers of the mass, I’m sure Fran was smiling down on them. I wonder: Will my descendants take their faith so seriously? And when I’m gone, will they honor me in a beautiful religious service?
- Fran helped to build a new church 60 years ago and attended mass regularly there until she became too infirmed. What faith – what dedication – especially through the tribulations which Catholics in Massachusetts have suffered over the past decade. I ponder: How do I express my faith and how do I express it in a religious community?
- Fran never complained. She was always grateful and cheerful, regardless of her trials. Unfortunately, I begin to write but I stop. Suffice to say: Fran inspires me and I realize that I need to continue to grow in my gratitude and cheerfulness.
I left the funeral so touched, so inspired, so humbled. How is it possible that I am so blessed to be in the presence of and inspired by amazing people like Fran? It’s one of the beautiful things about intergenerational programming and the ripple effects we have on one another’s lives. May Fran rest in peace and may all who cherished Fran be consoled by their memories of her.