Saturday, December 18, 2010
I spent much of the day at my third funeral of the week. Bill, graduated from 8th grade at St. Joseph’s in the 70’s and died at his home in North Dakota . I didn’t know him well, but his brother served on our staff for several years as principal and cultural specialist, and has been a great support and inspiration to me. I wanted to be there to offer him and his family my condolences and support.
A first service took place in North Dakota; and this second, smaller service took place in Fort Thompson, South Dakota, where he grew up. It brought his mom, brothers and sister a sense of relief and closure to bring him home for ceremony here.
I was told the services would be at 3:00, and arrived around 2:00. They had actually been changed to 5:00, which meant lots of waiting time. Patient waiting is a strong theme during this Advent season. I’ve also learned from working among Lakota (Sioux) people, this many years that things happen in their own time. I was glad for the extra chance to talk with relatives and learn more about Bill’s life and theirs as well.
Several of our houseparents also came in support. Four of our St. Joseph’s students were relatives. I appreciate a different side of our students when I see them in their communities outside of school. When the meal was ready to be served, they were the first ones to prepare plates for the elders. Only after everyone else was served did they sit down and eat.