The love of a godmother

This morning was spent in the company of current and former co-workers, as we shared stories of the late Jayne Matthews and celebrated her life with laughter. That's what she wanted, of course; she had told me years ago that she would be annoyed if no one was telling funny stories at her funeral. Jayne, we gave the best we had.

In my case, by the way, I told the story of Jayne's "divorce present" to me in 2003. I didn't need to preface it with explaining Jayne's opinions on marriage, because as soon as I mentioned it, there was a scattering of rueful laughter. Everyone who ever met Jayne knew her opinions on marriage.

We celebrated her life and her passion, and bid her farewell the best we knew.

But that wasn't the only goodbye today. My mother informs me that earlier today, my adoptive godmother died. By the way, it may be January but 2015 is fired.

This takes a little explaining. As is the tradition of the Episcopal Church, I was baptized as an infant. I had godparents, including a Catholic monsignor, but I never heard from them as a child or as an adult. I think I met one of them once as a young woman, and my mother told me when the monsignor passed away, because I think it was in the news.

Maynard and Lois LeCocq were my sister's godparents, and they were devoted. Because there was simply too much love in them to play favorites, they adopted me as well. Every birthday, I got a lovely little card from Maynard and Lois. Every Christmas, there were presents mailed all the way from California - for both of us, not just the one to whom they had a religious obligation. And every time we flew back to the town of our birth, we were welcomed as family.

Maynard left us several years ago. The last time I saw Lois was in 2012, when I flew out to see my mom's family. Lois and I had a nice chat at church - because of course, she was still attending St. Luke's, the church where my late grandfather was pastor and where my sister and I were baptized and my mother was married.

Perhaps the vanishing act of my own godparents made me that much more grateful for the LeCocqs. They showed me the love of family when they had no obligation to do so, and I was always humbled by their kindness. I have never had the privilege of being a godparent to a child; I stood as sponsor to two friends in college who had chosen the Episcopal Church, and it was an honor to be their godmother, even as we crack jokes about it since both gentlemen are older than I am. Our relationship was different than that of the traditional godparent, to guide the child and support the parents.

The LeCocqs showed me what to look for when my own son was born. The man we chose for Ian's godfather was my partner at my first newspaper job, a good man and a dear friend. Tom has always been there for Ian, and he and his wife are family in every way.

It is heartbreaking to hear of Lois's death today. Once again I wished that I had kept in better touch, written more letters, mailed more pictures. I knew her health was not the best, even in 2012 when last I saw her. But I know through our shared faith that she and Maynard are reunited now, and that must be such a blessed joy.

But I am weary of saying goodbye to people. Fred Grimm. Dave Wenrich. Jayne Matthews. Lois LeCocq. All within the last few weeks. My heart is too full with unsaid goodbyes.


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