And no more shall we part

This is an oil painting of my grandmother that I did during the summer between my freshman and sophomore years of college, from a black and white photo taken when she had been about the same age. I painted it two years after she passed away, following a struggle with Parkinson's disease, and gave it to my grandfather hesitantly, not knowing whether he would want a painful reminder of a much happier time of his life.

My grandfather had retired from his career as an engineer to care for her, and found himself, at 72, wondering what he would do with himself now that she was gone. His biggest fear was to be idle, so he followed a calling, the seed of which had been planted decades earlier, and became a Catholic priest. Since then, he has served his community tirelessy and grieved for his wife daily. This painting hung above his fireplace. Every time I saw him, he told me that he talked to her every day, while assuring me, lest I be concerned, that she had not started talking back yet. 

Yesterday, on what would have been his 88th birthday, we gathered the family together for his funeral, a service attended by two bishops and enough priests to keep everyone on their very best behavior. I borrowed the title of this post from a Nick Cave song, because I think what comforts the family most right now is the thought that he is finally reunited with his beloved wife.