Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A Life

Purple Heart medalA Purple Heart
via Wikimedia Commons
Richard A. Lockwood passed away on Friday April 19, somewhat suddenly, but not unexpectedly. "Grandpa Lockwood" was the patriarch of the clan, with 5 children, 14 grandchildren, thirty some great grandchildren (including my two children) and 3 great great grandchildren. He was 89. He is survived, but surely not for very long, by his wife Helen, a stroke victim who is no longer quite aware of what goes on around her.

Dick was a member of the "Greatest Generation", that generation that lived through and took part in World War II. A recepient of the Purple Heart, he never liked to talk about his part in the war. He joined late (he had several children by the time the war started for the US) But he was there, as part of General Patton's 3rd Army. His service was marked at his funeral services by inclusion of "Patton's Prayer" in the memorial program and by the things members of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) post did, saluting at the beginning and end of the service, firing a salute, and presenting a service flag to Helen. She was oddly quiet... perhaps she had some awareness of what it all meant.

Ever since I married into the Lockwood clan, Grandpa Lockwood was an important part of my family life. The family would come to the old Lockwood farmhouse on Ingalls road, in Smyrna, just about every Sunday to sit around, eat Grandma's cooking, (made with food bought by Grandpa as he had once complained about what Helen bought... she vowed never to ever set foot in a grocery store again, and she stuck to it) trade wild stories, and watch sports. (you had better not have had anything bad to say about the University of Michigan teams, or good to say about The Ohio State University teams, though)Photo #: SC 320901How one gets one of them
Image via Wikimedia Commons

Richard was born in that farmhouse, and grew up there, and lived there for 72 years of marriage, raising his 5 children, who dispersed to far corners of the US, and raised their own families, had their own careers, their own triumphs and sadnesses.

It is not everyone who is lucky enough to live to see great great grandchildren, to be sure. But it's also not everyone who has to help bury his own great great granddaughter, as Dick also did. It is not everyone who is lucky enough to live a full life. But it's also not everyone who outlives his own son by over 20 years. His son Gary died of AIDS in the mid 1980s, and was cremated at his own request, with his ashes scattered on Lake Waramaug, which he loved. We were able to finally bring some closure there when we placed a bottle of the lake water (with some tiny part of his ashes in it), which we had been saving all this time, in the casket.

It was a good life. He will be missed.

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