Archive for April, 2011

Remembrance Day for Kenny

Morning Observations in Peace Awareness Gardens

 

My dear Friends and Family,

March 30 marked one year since my sweet, funny, handsome, talented, mischievous and darling husband left his body to go home to God. I knew I wanted to have some kind of acknowledgment of that day, though since we had already had three memorials in 2010, it didn’t seem appropriate to have yet another memorial. As I projected in my mind what would sooth my healing heart, I realized I wanted an intimate gathering of those who seemed to make a big difference in our experience near the end of his life. I’m sure there were many others whose silent prayers and distant caring impacted us deeply, so choosing who to invite was a challenge. But the place was very clear to me. It would be Gail’s house, the site of many patio dinners and movies and Christmas Eves, and Thanksgiving dinners. The fare would be Kenny’s favorites, and the emphasis would be on acknowledging the loving and caring poured out to us at a time when every minute and every breath counted. I called it Remembrance Day.

Kenny at 23

Here’s what I wrote to Kenny’s sisters who all live on the East Coast and whom I wanted to include as much as I could.

Remembrance Day was a very dear and sweet gathering of people who assisted Kenny and me on an ongoing basis, and friends who loved him very much. We had it at Gail’s house. I purposely chose Gail’s because she has a very sweet little place on the west side. And Gail, Yvonne, Kenny and I were pals and did things together including that trip to Northern California in winter of 2008. And many of the furnishings in her house Kenny helped her assemble. I brought with me some of his favorite music and the two pictures of him in his youth that I love–the close-up on the beach at 23, and the one in the engineer’s cap in his early 30’s. Plus I brought an enlargement of the one of all of you and Kenny dressed in blue in front of the Island House. I also brought the album you all put together which everyone loved looking through. The living room was crammed full with only seventeen people—just as I imagined it would be—cozy, close, chairs all lined up like a couch.

 Kenny in his 30’s

Here’s how the day went:

I opened with a prayer and asked for Kenny’s Soul to be present.

I acknowledged each person present for their personal giving–said something personal to each one. Many brought tears and choked words, but I felt it important to acknowledge each one.

I read Kenny’s ministerial ordination blessing. In MSIA ministers have special callings that amplify their strengths and gifts. In Kenny’s case, the focus is on his “storehouse of treasures,” empathy, compassion, kindness and sensitivity–not in grand gestures, but in simple ways that show people he cares. And it encourages him to share his healing touch. I especially wanted everyone there to hear it because from my experience, he exemplified this blessing in his last few months more evidently than ever before.

You asked me to tell everyone that his family loved him very much and still does. I did that and showed everyone the family photo. There were audible sighs of empathy and appreciation in the group. Most of them had met you when you came to visit in January 2010. And they remembered the Jones sense of humor. Remember Kenny in thoseNew Jerseycrab shorts!

John Morton, our Spiritual Director, came to visit Kenny just a week or so before he passed and was so uplifted by his exuberance, he told Kenny his ministry was on fire! Kenny’s response was “If people could discover what I’m experiencing, they’d drop what they are doing and doing what I’m doing!” This visit was recorded and so at this point in the gathering, I played the recording of what Kenny said. Hearing his voice, especially with such a poignant message, brought tears to people’s eyes. They realized how much they missed him. Everyone realized he was showing us how to leave this world gracefully, in love and excitement and gratitude.

Kenny’s favorite recording artist and song writer is Mark Knopfler. At this point I played Knopfler’s Remembrance Day, which is how I came to name the gathering. Knopfler is British and inEngland, Remembrance Day is like our Veterans’ Day, commemorating the fallen Soldiers of WWI and WWII. The song is on the album “Get Lucky,” Knopfler’s latest with many poignant songs that Kenny loved and I had grown to love also. Here’s a YouTube clip of the song and a word document with the lyrics:

Remembrance Day
Music and Lyrics by Mark Knopfler
In Loving Memory of Kenny Jones
12/12/1946-03/30/2010

On your maypole green
see the winding morris men
Angry Alfie, Bill and Ken
waving hankies, sticks, and boots
all the earth and roots

 

Standing at the crease
the batsman takes a look around.
The boys are fielding on home ground.
The steeple sharp against the blue
when I think of you. 



 Sam and Andy,
Jack and John.
Charlie, Martin,
Jamie, Ron,
Harry, Stephen,
Will and Don
Matthew, Michael
on and on.  

We will remember them,
remember them,
remember them.

We will remember them,
remember them,
remember them

 

Time has slipped away
The summer sky to autumn yields,
Haze of smoke across the fields.
Let’s up and fight another round
and walk the stubbled ground.

 

When November brings
the poppies on Remembrance Day,
When the vicar comes to say,
May God bless them, every one.
Lest we forget our sons.” 

We will remember them,
remember them,
remember them. 

We will remember them,
remember them,
remember them. 

We will remember them,
remember them, remember them. 

We will remember them,
remember them,
remember them.

Then lots of people shared their fond memories of Kenny. It was very sweet and actually fun to hear it all. It reminded me of lolling in the pool at your house in Bayhead, as we all told stories the night after Kenny’s orchestration of his ashes day. (This is sited in an earlier entry called “The Funeral Train began inSpringfield.”)

I ended the formal part of the gathering with Kenny’s poem about the Prana gardens. Writing this poem was one of his moments of empathy and sensitivity. And reading it was even more so. He paused in just the right places emphasizing the description he was weaving. I’m adding it here:

Morning Observations in Peace Awareness Gardens
July 21, 2004
by Ken Jones
Photo by Ken Jones

Cool morning air,
thick with blossom smell,
caresses me inside and out.

Inside the delicate delightful green garden
sweet tendrils of tenderness
tell me I am loved.

Birds flitting, humming, and peering
sing and call their kin:
“Here I am, here I am here I am.
“Come nest with me, come nest with me.
“Let’s eat, let’s eat, let’s eat.

“Boy, I’m glad…
glad glad glad glad glad!”

The goldfish and koi and their playmates
glide in schools of silence
and rejoice….
in the suspended….
Current….
of ..the.. pond….

Every moment, the arcing sunlight brings fresh beauty,
whether illuminating lush leaves,
or reflecting ripples
that tickle tall translucent trunks.

Outside the green garden bubble,
the world rushes on,
Leaving us alone in soft splendid grace.

Once again I know gratitude.

Then we had homemade pound cake with Hagan Das vanilla ice cream. Two of Kenny’s favorites.

It was very warming and satisfying to create this gathering. For me it felt like Kenny was right there with us saying something like, “I had no idea so many people cared about me.” Well I know we all did and we all do still.

I hope you enjoyed this homage. Every holiday, birthday, and anniversary will have passed this coming Wednesday, March 30. I don’t know what the next year will hold, but I do know absence makes the heart grow fonder. I’m missing Kenny and you all as well.

Lots of  love,
Carol

Please feel free to comment in the comment field below, share your story, your thoughts and feelings about losing a loved one or assisting the family. Alternatively, contact me directly at carol.jones43@yahoo.com

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