Uncle Joe

Our Father‘s Brother,   Joseph J. Finnell Jr , has died today.

Growing up my Father and Uncle Joe were very close. . . like brothers should be. But, they were more then that. These two were best friends. 

 The loyalty of their relationship for both men lasted a life time.  

 As the two grew older and distance separated them the love the brothers had for each other  reached 1000 miles and grew in their children.  Even though my brothers, sisters and I didn’t know Uncle Joe very well the stories of their childhood together lived on in our father. Our father loved and admired his brother. We delighted in hearing the stories of years gone past of the two friends growing up in the city of Boston; selling papers at a very young age,  jumping on street cars for a free ride, dreaming on the deck of a yacht they could only sneak on and just simply running amok.                        

  I can only think as Uncle Joe’s daughter said ~  “The brothers are together again.” 

It is with a heavy heart we say, Rest in Peace Uncle Joe. We all have a great love for you. 
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Uncle Paul ~ December 29, 2009

I am sad to say my uncle died this week.

Paul E. Hayward Sr.

December 29, 2009

There were many things I didn’t know about him:

The biggest thing I didn’t know about him was ~ He was a World War II Veteran with the US Navy. I was so surprised and proud when I read this……I had know idea.

The one thing I do know is how my cousins feel tonight and I can only imagine how my Aunt Ann, his wife of 58 years must feel.

I don’t know who actually reads this little blog,

But

You are all in our thoughts and prays here in South Carolina.

We know how you feel. We know your pain and we are very sorry for you all.

To my Aunt and all my Hayward cousins, I want to tell you ALL how very sorry I am for the loss of your father. I also want to tell you all; We heard of the great care you gave him in his last days. Hold on to that and each other…For these are the days strong families shine.

Much Love, Lisa

I want to Remember

As I think about the past week and the tremendous effect it will have on the rest of my life…..I can’t help but think how do I carry this? How do we move forward like my father wants us too? How do you respectfully keep going, stay positive and live up to his memory? Just how do we do that?

The other day my cousin Kathy sent a comment that has stuck with me …….She told me how my father was her first crush….I can see that…my father was very handsome…((the was is so hard for me to fully grasp.))
However, that was not the part I am speaking of……….The one thing she said that stuck with me was…….”I always found comfort in knowing my Dad (and Mum) were only as far away as my heart.” “Just listen…you will hear him.” She is so right…….I can feel him……… everywhere. He truly is everywhere.
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But, before I can find the comfort and peace to go on with my life, and before I can get things to the point of a “new normal”, these are the things I want to remember for the rest of my life:

I want to remember how my mother, my father’s wife of 56 years, has been a pillar of strength for her husband and her children through out this whole ordeal. During the times my father was sick because of cancer, radiation or chemo….my mother was always by his side, taking care of him. She was always encouraging him to get up and eat with the family. She was always encouraging him to get up and sit with the family. She was always encouraging him to keep working and to keep going. The last days or weeks of his life it was our mother that let us sit with him and keep him company. On the really bad days she generously let us be alone with him and just hold his hand. She let us help her, help him. She was truly amazing. She IS truly amazing.

These past four and an half years when the doctors would say…….”Bill, we don’t want you uncomfortable.” My mother would say “I just want him here….I don’t care about his comfort. Let’s just keep him here.” My father loved to hear this. He would smile his biggest smile and laugh with pure joy and say…”That is the nicest thing she could ever say to me.” He accepted her words for what they were……True Love. When it was time to let go….She simply knew and as hard as it was for her……she did….again…..True Love.
She knew he would be with her forever……living in her heart.

I want to remember my Aunt Mary Lou and how she stayed with my parents the nights she was really needed. I want to remember how she let my mother sleep and how she stayed up all night with my dad watching over him, helping him anyway she could. I want to remember the love and dedication she gave to us, my father and most of all her sister, our mother.

I want to remember how my sister in law, my brother in law and my husband would make time to see my dad everyday. How Linda helped with his care giving her time so lovingly. How Reiner worked in the yard, Mark worked on the equipment and how both of these men would go and just sit with our dad. They would just sit with him, letting him know he was never alone.

I want to remember, my oldest three children serving on the Alter at my father’s funeral Mass. How Matthew held the cross as high as he could…..I know he wanted his Grandpa to see it, to feel the love, admiration and how honored he was to be part of his Mass….I want to remember how each one of the children stood on the Alter with pride and just how lovingly they served for him and my mother that day.

I want to remember how the older grandsons were pallbearers for my father and how James and William read the readings at the Mass with such dignity and respect.

I want to remember how each one of the grandchildren put a rose in a basket on the Alter by my father’s casket and how significant that act of love was for both my parents.

There is nothing more important then family… The final act was perfect and honored them both in such a way I never dreamed possible.

I want to remember, Jen’s eulogy and how she started it off with ….”Uncle Bill, you can not drive.” And how Jen’s tribute to my father left everyone with a smile on their face……Just remembering.
I want to remember the day of the wake: When we were trying to get the house ready for all the guest…..Jen was there working, helping us get ready. She told me she needed to run to the store and she needed me to show her how to get there. I want to remember how I really didn’t want to go but she insisted. After all, as she said, she lives in California now and she could get terribly lost…. She said it was very important that I go with her…to show her the way.

In reality it was important to me. She knew I was becoming over whelmed and had to get out. Our ((or at least my)) spirits were lifted as she filled 2 great big carts and baskets with mums, pumpkins, candles, flowers, and a wreath. After the shopping we were off to McDonald’s for a nice FAT comfort meal that we both seemed to enjoy all to much. Jen said she wanted to get all those things to bring happiness and color back into my parent’s home…… and that is exactly what she did.

On the way home that day I realized she had a GPS in her car and I thought she lied….. But I am so glad she did……She knew I needed to get out more then she needed me to show her the way. I remember saying to her….”Thank you for making it sound important that I come….I needed this.” I think she said; I know.

I want to remember how Aunt Ann sang and just how beautiful her voice and the songs we picked were that day. My father loved her voice and to have her come down and sing would have been such and honor for him. I want to remember; how her daughter Peggy and Aunt Ann’s husband Paul came down without a single thought. They just came a thousand miles to be with our family. It was all so wonderful.

I want to remember the out-pour of friends and mostly family….how Ann Marie came back down even though she was just here a couple of weeks ago. It was just that important. And how Uncle Bernie and Sue showed up and made us all laugh and feel good about the day.

I want to remember; how my in laws just came and gave and did. My sister in law, Kim, stocked the shelves and refrigerator at my house. She knew shopping was the last thing on my mind. She knew we were mostly out of everything…..The night of the my father’s wake I even came home to a very clean kitchen because of her. She knew walking in the door to a clean kitchen was almost better then a warm hug.
I want to remember how very loving my dear sweet husband has been. How he comforted me and just gave to me when he was hurting too. Mark told me just how much my father meant to him and how grateful he was that when the odds seemed against him my dad was the only one who truly believed in him and gave him a real chance to prove himself in the business world.

I want to remember the food people sent over…..the flowers people gave…and what flowers there were…
I want to remember the friends and family that came and cried and loved us. How my father’s brothers came down without a thought. I want to remember just how Uncle Joe and his wife came back down even though he and Aunt Millie were just here. I want to remember my cousin Lyn and her tears of love. I want to remember Uncle Bob and his wife, Pat, their daughter Patty and her children. I want to remember how both my father’s brothers told stories about their childhood and how the love shined through. Each tale told with devotion, humor, honor and joy. With each Aunt and uncle came their children…. Cousins I hardly knew.

I want to remember Aunt Jean and Aunt Joan came with Kathy and Kristen. I want to remember how my aunts stayed just a few more days in an effort to make this transition just a tinny bit easier for their very good friend our mother.
I want to remember my cousin Judy’s genuine sorrow.
I want to remember how my friend Denise filled the pantry with food and paper products at my mother’s house and how she just thought of everything. I want to remember how my friend Kim just showed up at my parent’s house the morning of the wake and started cleaning bathrooms….How our girl friends from the karate school were just there in my mother’s kitchen after the funeral putting deserts they made on the table, making coffee, feeding my mother, my children, my sisters and me. It was an amazing display of love…..pure affection.

I want to remember the people that came to the wake and how they cried and how we comforted them. I want to remember their true sorrow and how grown men told me through their tears how my father and my mother were better to them then their own parents. I want to remember how many times I heard my father’s favorite saying that night from each one of those men…. Luck only comes to those who work at it.”

I know I will always remember my father and the love he shared because after all ~ my cousin Kathy is just so right when she said;
…….”I always found comfort in knowing my Dad (and Mum) were only as far away as my heart.” “Just listen…you will hear him.”

I am Good Dear….I am very Good

I have started this post 100 times. Maybe I have even started it a thousand times if you count the times I have started it in my mind: I just can’t seem to get the words down.

This…….is taking me so long.

It has been 8 days now since my father passed away. Passed away…..That sounds so strange to say….8 days almost seems like a 8 hundred years and then again it seems like 8 seconds …I just can’t believe he is gone. I can’t believe I won’t talk to him again or see his smiling face. Losing him is such a great loss for all of us. I just don’t know how we are going to move forward…..But we will…Because we have too.

That is the way it is done.

There are so many things I want to tell you about him but I just can’t get my thoughts together enough to write them out:

Everyone should have known my father…….He left an impact on the world. He actually left it a better place. He was kind…..tough and loving. He was an incredible man.

HE WAS

He was an incredible father. I know, not many people have that……but we did.

And I…. am very GRATEFUL

The one thing I don’t ever want to forget is my father’s strong spirit.

He was our teacher right to the end.

As my father’s body grew weaker daily, his spirit grew stronger daily. As the changes came to his body: He never grow to like them…..He grew to accept them with Grace and dignity.

He was Gracious and Loving right to the end.

I had the chance to see my father everyday and these past months help with his care: Every day I would ask him how he was…….. Even on his weakest days he would say; “I’m good dear, very good. I really feel very good…… How are you?” I would tell him I was good. I was very good and in return he would say……Good Dear…that’s good.

Last Tuesday, I had the privilege of sitting with him alone and as I held his hand I asked him how he was. He whispered “Good…I am very Good.”

Then he said in a louder, stronger voice: “Alright, Alright I am coming……He looked at me and said, “I have to go Dear” ……..I told him I knew. I told him I loved him and then he settled down for a short while and then struggled to get up again.

Later that same day he said “Bye, Bye Dear” to my sister. He died early the next morning with his wife of 56 years and her devoted sister by his side.

…56 Years…

Tonight

My heart is so heavy. But, strangely enough it does not feel like it will explode out of my chest anymore…..The loss is greater then I could have ever imagined and the tears come unexpectedly and freely. I really don’t think that will change as we move forward and try this new life without him by our side. I am not sure how we are going to do this thing but I know we will.

And I know It will be Good…..It will be very Good because he his given us the strength, courage and so many gifts along the way to make it good; To make it very good….

This is my Father……How can this be?

Bill Finnell
Simpsonville, SC

Bill  Finnell

William F. Finnell, Sr., born February 17, 1933 in Randolph, MA, died peacefully in his home September 30, 2009 surrounded by his devoted family.

Bill was a loving and faithful husband to Grace Coleman Finnell for 56 years, father to Karen F. Lopez, William F. Jr., George D. Finnell, Margaret F. Hoverath and Lisa F. Advent, father-in-law to Linda, Bernard, Riener and Mark.

He was also the loving grandfather to sixteen grandchildren, Joseph, William and Kristen Lopez; William III and Rebecca Finnell; George Finnell, Jr.; Stephanie F. Peterson, Bailey and Eva Finnell, James Byerly, Alexander and Brian Hoverath, Mathew, Stephen, Kathryn and Mary Elizabeth Advent; two step grandchildren Scott Templeton and Michelle Upchurch; two great grandchildren, Anthony Lopez and Aubrey Peterson; and seven step great grandchildren, Breanna, Emma, Walker Templeton; Kristian, Katie, Karmen and Keleb Upchurch.

Also surviving are his three brothers, Joseph; Robert; and James Finnell; two sisters, Jean Hoffman, and Joan Savia; and devoted sister-in-law, Mary Foley Cooney.

Bill attended Wentworth Institute in Boston, MA and was a US Veteran. He was a Designer for Bendix Engineering with Cape Kennedy Space Center, Florida where he was part of the Gemini and Apollo programs. He was also employed with General Electric.

Bill designed and was a visionary for Coachwood Acres, Coachwood Forest and Powderhorn subdivisions in Simpsonville and the Golden Strip area.

His legacy and dreams will live on his family.

The Mass of Christian Burial will be held Saturday, October 3, 2009 at 10am at St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church, with Father Robert Falabella officiating.

The family will receive friends Friday, October 2, 2009 from 7 – 9pm at The Mackey Mortuary, 311 Century Drive.

Obituaries and online registry at http://www.mackeymortuary.com/

This is my father…..How can this be?

A Week in Review

On Sunday afternoons, our sons, Stephen and Alex, prepare for their lives as Catholics by going to a religion class. Margaret and I take advantage of the hour we have to give each other a little friendly, competitive push on our running. We talk, laugh, and try to out-do each other like good team mates should.

As we prepared Sunday night for a busy week ahead, all was right with in our world.

Monday was a normal school day and things went as they should. The bad news came Monday night, when the phone rang late. I normally would not have answered, but this time the ring had an urgent sound to it, as phones sometimes do. It was Kim, a friend of Margaret’s and mine. She wanted to tell me something terrible had happened to another friend’s son.Kim said our friend’s son had died. She was not sure of the details because she had received the news “through the grape vine”. We were not even sure if it was true.

Within seconds of hanging up from Kim, Margaret called to tell me what had happened. This friend’s son’s death was all too real.

Matt, the young man that died, was only 23. He was the only son of four children. He was a black belt many times over. He was a veteran of the Iraq war serving four tours of duty. He had also just recently signed up for the National Guard. He was a quiet, gentle kid always thinking of how he could help others. Amazingly, he wanted to serve our country even more than he had before.

Now the shock of this tragedy was starting to sink in for us. I could only imagine how his mother must feel. Matt and his mother where very close.

In this very sad time the circles of friends we have, where all at a loss as to what to do. Most of all, we were at a loss for words. Everyone was trying to do something, anything to make it better for Matt’s mother.

With no way to truly help, we cried.

We cried for his mother’s loss. We cried because we all knew Matt. We cried because we are all mothers. We also cried for all the losses of the mothers and fathers all over the country that are suffering due to this war or any war, for that matter.

A rainy, cold Tuesday was fitting for my mood that day. With the news still sinking in, the close circle of friends stayed in contact through e-mail. We shared our thoughts and most of all we tried to help each other cope. But, in reality we had the easy part and our lives still moved forward as usual.

My Matthew had made arrangements to spend Tuesday afternoon with his nana. They were going to run errands and then drop by the DMV so Matthew could take the drivers permit test. To much of his excitement, Matthew passed the test. Mark and I now have a student driver in the house.

Although, I am excited for Matthew, I can’t help but be a little sad. I keep thinking somehow I turned around and my baby boy was growing up all to fast. But, then again, I am very happy he has a grandmother that will take the time out of her busy day to spend with him and do these important things that kids need to feel special. Kathryn and Stephen went to piano lessons while Mary Elizabeth slept in the car. For me that day, my life move forward as usual.

By Tuesday night the word was out about Matt’s death. Everyone in our small town wanted to see if they could do something to help. His mother was one of the kick boxing teachers at the karate school we all had grown to love. All her old students and now friends came together at a local sandwich shop to pray, cry and talk about what could be done. Matt’s sisters had come to say thank you for caring and to tell us ways they thought we could help their mother. We learned what had happened to Matt. We learned about the very sad events of the weekend for his mother and her family.

We also learned, once again in the end, Matt showed his heroism and his mother showed her courage, faith, and love of life by donating Matt’s organs. None of us were surprised by this family’s incredible strength.

Wednesday morning, still cold and rainy and still fitting to the mood, was a rush out the door by 7 am. I had to have, my son, Matthew in Easley, an hour away. He was up for a 10 hour day of debate. Where the kids amazingly talked about sanctions, stock issues and reforms.

That same day, our father, as brave as can be, went in for another round of chemo with our mother at his side. For, they are still fighting the cancer that is eating away at our dad’s body.

My other kids did their school work in the car and at the church where the debate was held. They also helped where they could with the debating events. Elizabeth slept in the car and played where ever she was.

On the way home that night, we stopped and picked up a pizza for a late night dinner with our family. Mark and I talked with the kids about how the day went, read the comments on Matthew’s debating and then we kissed our children good night. It was life as usual for me.

Thursday morning the boys were really excited about the adventure they were about to partake with James and their grandparents. There was a very big conference about growing grapes and other small fruits that Matthew just had to attend.

For his dream is to have a muscadine farm where he, his siblings and James can become famous wine makers. They want to sell grapes to cancer research laps, make wine and anything else they can think of to do with the fruit. Incredibly, their grandparents are 110% behind them cheering all the way.

Thursday afternoon, my mother and father packed up the car and the three boys. They were taking them over night to the RAIN conference in Florence, South Carolina, about 4 hours away.

I took the girls home that afternoon to get dinner ready and to get myself ready for the funeral.

Thursday night Margaret and I went to the funeral together to pay our respects. As we drove up to the church we were taken back by all the cars in the parking lot. We walked slowly down a sidewalk that was lined with men in uniform holding American flags. Our walk into the church left us in awe for all the people that had come to show their love and respect for this young man and his mother.

The service was incredible. There was not a dry eye in the church. Everyone cried. They cried for the loss of this young life. They cried because of the things his sisters had said during the service. They cried because of the pictures that where shown. They all cried when our American flag, that covered Matt’s casket, was folded. Everyone cried even more when the bugle player played taps, and when the 21 gun salute was fired.

Even though everyone was filled with pride for this young man and pride for our great country, we cried.

Everyone cried because of the circumstance of this young man’s death. Once again the system had failed and this terrible event should not have been.

It was a tragic night.

Margaret and I went home to our whole families and even though we were both very sad; it was life as usual for me.

Friday came; Margaret and Kathryn went to their Friday home school classes. Our older boys where still in Florence enjoying the RAIN conference. Their grandfather was sick as he could be but never complained. Their grandmother showed her love and support for all her men by spreading herself thin…….watching the boys, learning about growing grapes and taking care of her husband, all 4 hours away from home.

Mary Elizabeth and I stayed home and prepared for our play date that would be later that day. Her new and only little friend came over to play. The girls played while I enjoyed talking to my friend and all was right with my world.

Friday night, everyone came home from the adventure of the conference excited and eager to get started. All three boys could not wait to get home and tell their mothers how things went and what the plans where. They wanted to tell us who they met and what the next step would be for their young lives. They went on and on in their excitement. It was all very wonderful listening and dreaming of their future plans.

Saturday came and it was time to visit Mr. Black and his family. Mr. Black is another instructor at the karate school. Thursday night at the funeral, Margaret had learned Mr. Black and his son were very close to Matt. She had learned the Black family was taking the death of Matt very hard.

After telling our group about her conversation with him, a few of us decided it would be nice to take food to their house and show our love and support.

Saturday afternoon Kim and I took a very American meal over to a very Japanese family.

This family was truly in pain from their loss. We learned how the Black’s really felt about Matt. We learned they truly loved him and how they thought of Matt as one of their own children. We learned Mr. Black’s son and Matt where as close as brothers. Mr. Black said “twins could not have been closer”. We learned Mr. Black felt he had lost a son and nothing would be right for this family again.

As we left, Kim and I hugged everyone again and drove away. We went back to her house talked a little and I went home to my family. It was life as usual for me.

Sunday again, the boys where off to more religion classes and there was another competitive run between sisters. Only this time we ran up the hills and walked, talked and laughed on the down.

Even though, Margaret and I where still felling terrible about the events of the week, we realize this young man could be any one of our children……Life is fragile and much to short……… We know now, more then ever, our sons and my daughters will grow up way to fast. This terrible death could happen in anyones family, even in ours.

As Edwin Starr sang: “WAR!…huh…yeah What is it good for?Absolutely nothing…….Uh ha haa ha”

In reality: It is still life as usual for me.