Saturday, April 01, 2006

Snow Angel

One of my early
Memories of snow
Is making snow angels
And playing fox and hen
In the snow with my Dad
Along side the highway on the
Way to Snoqualmie Pass

Yesterday I visited his
Grave and uncovered the
Snow from the wreath my
Mom had my brother lay
At the place of the headstone

I laid the wreath against
The plastic yellow sunflowers
I purchased at Albertson’s
Grocery store

And then, I lay on the
Ground above his grave
And made a snow angel

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Ida and Wes

I am Ron Erickson. Ida and Wes were my Aunt and Uncle. I am honored to stand before you today and give tribute to Ida and Wes. Ida was my Dad, Ed Erickson’s, sister. Many of you in this room know the Erickson story. Homestead in Minnesota. Peter and Julia Erickson had five children. Four girls and a boy. They were homestead stock, Scandinavian immigrant stock, hardy stock. They were forever resourceful.

Ida was born with a club foot. With no doctors and no money, her father, Peter, fashioned an iron brace which he adjusted over time until her foot was straight. When they moved in 1922 to a small place just down the road, and visited a Doctor at Children’s Hospital, he said, “I couldn’t have done any better myself.” The foot brace resides in Ida’s family’s archives.

Early, Wes June intersected with the Ericksons. Wes knew the family. He told me that when he got the news that Peter Erickson was killed in a logging accident right up there on the ridge above High Point he couldn’t believe it, because Pete had a reputation for being safe and smart in the woods.

As chance would have it, the intersection occurred again in the mid 60’s. Ida was widowed and Wes divorced and then began a wonderful love affair.

Many of us share wonderful memories of Rainier Avenue. Great parties, lots of laughter, and easy-going ribbing. And…then picnics on the bare lot at Beaver Lake…and the home there with its always open door.

Today though I want to share stories of love. Wes was devoted to Ida and cared for her with love and compassion. And Ida was full of love and a relentless spirit.

Just weeks before she died, in May of last year, I visited Ida and Wes at the nursing home on Mercer Island gaining strength to go home. My Dad was in an assisted living facility dealing with dementia. In her bed, with Wes at her side she said, “Ed needs to get home. Wes and I will come help take care of him.” Full of love and compassion.

As it turned out Ida was not to see her brother again. Shortly thereafter she passed away.

On Memorial Day we picked up my Dad from the assisted living facility and drove down to Greenwood Cemetery in Renton where a large portion of the extended family resides.

Dad stood by the graves of his parents and sisters and said, “I didn’t get to say goodbye to Ida. I know she would have asked for me.”

A month later, Dad fell, had a cerebral hemorrhage and lapsed into a coma. Ultimately life support was removed. Wes was in the room with Dad when the decision was made. He said, “I want the right decision for Ed. I know what he would want.”

A week in hospice followed before Dad passed away. Wes sat with Mom and the family throughout that week. He was a steady comforting presence. He was full of love.

Wes’ work was complete. A full life. He once said that he wanted to live one day more than Ida. He lived 257 days.

Mom said to him, “Wes, so many people love you and want you to live.” “Oh,” he said, “They will get along okay without me.” He’s right. We will.

But we miss you Wes. And we miss Ida.

We miss the smiles, the laughter. We miss the offer of a game of crib.

And we miss the offer of a toddie.

And we love you.