Sunday, May 15, 2005

Sam Moses Memorial

My great uncle Sam Moses died on March 1, 2005, and this afternoon, my family honored him with a memorial dinner and giveaway. Friends and relatives from all over gathered at the Green House in Wellpinit and enjoyed a beautiful meal together; in fact, I've rarely seen so many people in the Green House at one time. Several in attendance stood and shared memories of Sam, words of wisdom, and teachings they received during his life among us. Friends from across the river brought a drum and sang some of his favorite wardance songs, and keeping with our tradition, the family distributed my uncle's personal belongings to everyone who attended.

Nearly everyone who shared words this afternoon remembered Sam's big heart and devotion to family. Time and again, people expressed gratitude for his kindness and for his refusal to gossip or badmouth others.

I was deeply moved by everything I saw and heard today.

Before my father died in 1994, he and my uncle Sam were very close. Out of respect for both men, I stood on the floor and shared a few words, and also sang one of my father's songs. Dad's been gone for 11 years, and just when I think I've "gotten over it," I stand on the edge of another passing and all the old feelings come rushing back. I suppose there is no "getting over it;" the love we share as a family never dies, and on days like today their love returns with tenderness and deep emotion. The ones we love are never really very far away.

I'm sure Sam, my father, and all the others who went before us were pleased to witness our gathering today.

After we left the dinner, my children and I stopped at the cemetery at Sacred Catholic Church to visit the graves of our loved ones. As young as they are, my children expressed a great amount of interest in knowing about our relatives.

In the interest of historical photography, I stopped at St. Joseph's Catholic Church near Ford, Washington. The church is no longer used as a place of worship, but is maintained as an historical site. I love to introduce my children to all different forms of spirituality, culture, and belief. They enjoyed seeing the statues inside the church, and of course ringing the bell.

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