“Grant them eternal rest, O Lord”

I’m going to step outside the RV narrative timeline for this post. I need to address friends and family in real-time, before we resume our reports from the road. In the RV narrative timeline, we haven’t reached Loveland Colorado. We’ll resume that narrative in the next post.

But in the real world, on May 7th, after we left Loveland and one day away from Boise—we received word that Barbara Moore, Nan’s mother, had passed away in the early morning hours. We continued on to Boise, left the cat in the capable hands of my cousin Don and his wife Eileen, and flew to St. Louis where the family was gathering for the funeral.

I met Barbara for the first time in the fall of 1974 when we went to Nan’s childhood home in St. Louis for Thanksgiving. I was nervous about the meeting. Nan’s family was the opposite of mine in so many ways. They lived in a big city, I grew up in a small town. Nan’s father was a retired Vice President at McDonnell Douglas, my dad sold suits. My family was Lutheran, Nan’s family was Catholic—which was a bigger deal back then—my mother’s baby sister had married a Catholic and it fractured our extended family along religious lines, though I didn’t learn that until I was almost out of high school. It was something the adults didn’t talk about when I was around.

In 1974 I was a college drop-out who’d been job hopping for several years, working at one blue-collar job after another, unable and unwilling to consider my future. By the first time I went to St. Louis I’d been on the assembly line at Rockwell Collins for three months, not a bad job, but a long way from a hot prospect as a son-in-law. To say I was apprehensive about “meeting the parents” is an understatement.

But Nan’s family made me feel welcome from the first time I met them. They were gracious and kind and Barbara was always ready to whip  up a poached egg and English muffin every morning I woke up in her house. Earle, Nan’s dad, passed away in 1978—too soon, I wish I’d had more time with him. But I had more than thirty years with Barbara.

Over the decades, as my parents moved and then passed on, and as Nan and I moved around the country, Barbara’s home became for me the one constant thing in my life, and I always enjoyed—and still do enjoy—my family time with the Moore clan, especially after we moved to St. Louis in 1999. Barbara continued to be gracious and kind to me as long as I knew her.

Barbara was one of the busiest people I’ve ever met, a trait she passed to my wife. When the girls would go to St. Louis for grandma time she would wear them out with activities and still be going strong. She wore us out whenever we came to visit and we were thirty years younger. The Barbara we all knew was slowly taken from us by Alzheimer’s a few years ago, her body was still here but her personality faded beyond our reach. She hung on, still a fighter, until she had nothing left to fight with.

I don’t know where Barbara is now, or even IF she is, but she lived a long life and a good life—and I miss her. She deserves her rest.

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