My column will be a bit different this month because the husband of a friend of mine has died and I must write about it. My friend, Dee Anderson, was the soul of Leaburg Library for more than twenty years, seventeen of those as its director. Her husband Loren was her soul mate for more than fifty years, and they were a marvelous pair. Whatever needed to be done at the library was usually done by Dee with Loren close behind; hauling trash, transporting boxes of discarded books to other locations, replacing light bulbs, helping with fundraisers - you name it, they did it. And not just at the library. They have been involved in the community in one way or another for as many years as they have lived on the river.
Loren died yesterday (4-28) of complications from Parkinson’s disease.
During their marriage, he and Dee traveled all over the world to countries in Europe, Asia and the Far East, collecting memories and friends as they went, and sharing their experiences when they returned home. Loren was a very successful businessman but was even more successful as husband, father and friend. Whenever I came to their home to discuss something with Dee, Loren always came into the room to ask how things were going and to get his hug. It was a thing with us! And it was something that I always looked forward to. The last time I saw him, which was only a few days ago, he struggled to his feet when I came into the room and asked, “Do I get my hug?” Of course Loren, it was always my pleasure. He was a warm, funny, caring man – a real gentleman.
Henry Van Dyke wrote a lovely poem about the death of a loved one called “Gone From My Sight”. It is often used by the military as a eulogy for fallen servicemen or women, and it is so beautifully comforting. I offer this for Loren and his family.
I am standing at the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean.
She is an object of beauty and strength, and I stand and watch
until at last she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where
the sun and sky come down to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says, “There she goes!”
Gone where? Gone from my sight – that is all.
She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was
when she left my side, and just as able to bear her load
of living freight to the places of destination.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her.
And just at that moment when someone at my side says,
“There she goes!”, there are other eyes watching her coming,
and other voices ready to take up the glad shout:
“Here she comes!”
I’ll see you later, Loren.
Marty Mealey, Director