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by Mari Nardolillo Dias
“The bells of Saint Mary’s,
I hear they are calling
The young at heart the true of heart
Who belong to Bay View.
Their ringing reminds us
Of memories that bind us
And keep us close in mind and heart to dear Bay View.” (Bay View Academy Alma Mater)
Pardon my musings. This week brought me to my 50+2 in 2022 high school reunion. We did have a 50th reunion in 2000, via Zoom. It was during the pandemic, and it suited us at the time. Yet we hoped for an in-person gathering. This was it. We are a small, close knit graduating class. Our fearless leader, Joann, coordinated the entire event, complete with name tags that contained our high school senior picture, and our maiden and marriage names. Some I recognized immediately. They hadn’t changed much in 50+ years! With some, I found myself surreptitiously glancing at name tags before the multiple hugs and kisses. (I’m sure they did the same with me!) We mingled. We laughed. We celebrated our common 70th birthdays. And we remembered. We remembered the homeroom antics as if it were yesterday, the basketball games, cheerleading and the Bishop Hendricken dances. Homeroom membership was determined alphabetically for the entire four years, and thus those with last names N-P had a great deal to share!
And we cried. We cried for the sisters we lost, eleven in all. It could have been any one of us. And soon it will be. Three of whom were in attendance at the Zoom reunion only two years ago are already gone. I found myself spending a bit longer at the Remembrance table. There were the high school senior yearbook pictures of the ones who are no longer with us. Each larger than life, framed and honored. Moreover, we were given a Memory Book, which contained a section on “To the sisters we’ve lost: You are loved…You are missed…You are remembered.” Many I remember as they were in 1970 – the last time I saw them. Smiling in their black and white pictures, donned in white cap and gowns – anxious, hopeful, and enthusiastic as they looked toward the future. Frozen in time at the age of 18. Members of Future Teachers of America, Student Council, Glee Club and Orchestra. One of our sisters, Ann McGuire Normann passed in June of 2020. She left us a devotional message: “Don’t forget to pray. Sometimes it may seem hollow, but Our Lord doesn’t mind. And if you feel scared or intimidated, remember that almost everybody else feels that way too.”
Allow me to humbly echo her words.
Dr. Mari Dias is a nationally board-certified counselor, holds a Fellow in Thanatology and is certified in both grief counseling and complicated grief. Dias is a Certified death doula, and has a Certificate in Psychological Autopsy.
She is Professor of Clinical Mental Health, Master of Science program, Johnson & Wales University. Dias is the director of GracePointe Grief Center, in North Kingstown, RI. For more information, go to: http://gracepointegrief.com/ .
Dias is the author of GriefSPEAK, Vols. I and II
Thanks Mari, What a tribute and compliment to all of us!
You are more than welcome Sharon! Thank you for taking the time to comment!
Beautifully said, Mari! Time is fleeting, memories may last, but love never dies! Thank you for this wonderful article.
Thank you Patty! You continue to amaze me with the same face and smile!!
Mary- this is beautiful. My sentiments exactly 💕
Bless you Elaine. Thank you so much!
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