Eulogy

Duane's Sharing Almost every weekday morning Margaret got us up at 4am, she showered and got dressed, grabbed the mug of coffee I had made her, gave me a kiss goodbye while I always told her to stay away from the crazy people and be safe. She then commuted 2.5 hours to the hustle and bustle of New York City where she lived in the high tech world of information and knowledge management at Marsh, until late afternoon. She then turned around and came back to Nutmeg House (that’s what she named our home) and stepped back in to the recreated 18th Century world we have helped build in Settlement Hill. Though Margaret loved the world of work, living in the surroundings of our Early American ancestors revived her. She loved the architecture, the design and the seemingly simpler lifestyle of those earlier years in our Nation’s history. A love she passed on to me. I think she felt, that back then we knew we were all more connected to one another and to the land. Of all of the things she loved to do, from decorating the house for holidays, or cooking on the open hearth, her most favorite thing was to be in Her Garden. Every night, before she came inside the house after work, she would check her new plantings and make sure they were well watered. Every weekend morning, from mid-Spring into Fall, I would find her having her first cup of coffee either sitting in her garden or walking around in it enjoying her plants. And every weekend she either added to, or moved around something in the garden (with the assistance of her faithful grunt…me); and she always invested the time for proper Weeding. Every year, as a result of the weeding, she would get a rash on her hands that was very akin to poison ivy. And though it was a nasty rash (which she pointed out to me regularly), and we never could figure out its specific source, it did not keep her from tending to her garden. During a conversation with my sister Anita last week she brought a perspective to Margaret’s Gardening I had not seen before, but immediately fit like a glove. She said that Margaret was Gardener not only with her plants, but in the way she approached life. The world was her garden, and the people in it her most precious plants. She tended to people and watered them all with her caring, her love and her good nature. She fertilized them with her integrity, commitment, professionalism and role modeling of good old fashion hard work and friendship. And she helped them grow to their fullest with careful planting and occasional pruning to encourage growth. And she brought the whole Garden together by constantly removing the weeds that might obscured the connections between people so that in the end the whole Garden produced an effect that was so much more than the sum of its individual parts. I know she was a great gardener, because I am a result of some of her best work. I was included in her garden even though I NEEDING A GREAT DEAL OF EFFORT. She must have seen something in me worth having in her garden to take a good part of the last 26 years cultivating me. Our son Stephen on the other hand was blessed to have been part of Margaret’s Garden from the very start. He has learned the art of Gardening life well and grown into a wonderfully kind person who expresses the best of what Margaret provided us all. She loved Stephen very much and was very very proud of the man he has grown up to be. Though we most likely will not find any of Margaret’s physical remains, is of little importance, for that is not where she can be found. To find her, we only have to look at the people in this church, the people in her garden. She is alive and well in each of us, and in the connections we have with each other. We are her everlasting garden. In nurturing us all, Margaret also passed on her skills in gardening life to each of us. That is her legacy… that is her gift to us…. and that is how she will live forever. I ask you all to honor Margaret’s Life by continuing it through the tending of your own gardens. By remembering the lessons she and the other gardeners in your lives have taught you. After you have carefully planted, make sure to; • Water your garden regularly with love, care, kindness and a good nature. • Fertilize it with your integrity, commitment, role modeling and positive action. • Know when it is appropriate to prune and then do so making sure you use the smallest sharpest sheers and never ever use a weed-whacker. • And MOST IMPORTANT, every day attend to the weeding: removing the egos, the upsets, the unforgiven transgressions, the personal prejudices and the hundred excuses for putting off that call to a loved one until a tomorrow … a day that may never come. Weed out all those things that come between us and obscure the connections that make us a garden. The tragedy of September 11th caused a massive weeding of the World Garden, and for most, allowed us to see clearly that we are forever connected and we are and can continue to be much much more together than we could ever be alone. There is an old Swedish Proverb I think is appropriate, not only because Margaret is half Swedish but because it speaks to a key practice Margaret used in her gardening. “Go often to the house of a friend; For weeds soon choke up the unused path. Shared joy is a doubled joy; shared sorrow is half a sorrow.” So honor Margaret’s Life and the thousands of other people who were lost on September 11th by tending to your Gardens and make sure the weeds do not grow back and hide the truth that we are all connected and that there is nothing we cannot accomplish together if we express our best every day, and support and love others so they contribute their best as well. That way they will all live forever, including my beloved Margaret.

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