Larry and Ash Wednesday

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(I will be reposting this each Ash Wednesday.)

My late son Larry always seemed to enjoy Ash Wednesday.  Six years ago in 2013 I went up with him to receive ashes.  He heard the traditional admonition:  “Remember man thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return.” and had the ashes placed on his forehead.  He then did the normal circle turn that he did after receiving Communion, and we went back to our pew.

Little did we know that this would be Larry’s last Ash Wednesday.  He died in the wee hours of Pentecost in 2013 of a seizure.  (On that dreadful date I said to my wife that one of the greatest gifts God has given us in this life is our inability to see the future.)  Now Larry’s physical body is well on its way back to dust, awaiting the Resurrection when it will be reunited with his soul.

Larry is now in the land which knows not Ash Wednesday, but only Eternal Easter, and we are left to experience this Ash Wednesday without him.  I have always found Ash Wednesday to be a bleak day and it will be much bleaker yet without my son.  However, Ash Wednesday, like death, is not the end, but merely a beginning.  As Ash Wednesday is the portal to Easter, death is the portal to eternal life. 

Saint Paul noted almost 2000 years ago that if our hope in Christ was limited to this life only that Christians were the most pitiable of men, and that those who slept in Christ would then be the deadest of the dead.  Our hope, however, is not limited to this brief sojourn through this Vale of Tears.  Christ taught us to call God Father to remind us all that we are children of a loving God.  His resurrection revealed to us that God’s mercy and love is not limited to this world, but is for all eternity to those who love God and our neighbor.

Larry, I am confident, now enjoys the Beatific Vision.  During his 21 and three-quarters years on Earth we loved him and cared for him to the best of our ability.  Now he enjoys the eternal promise of Easter.  Ash Wednesday reminds us of our mortality, but it also directs our minds and souls to what lies beyond death, and that is what I will remember as I receive the ashes and hear again,    “Remember man thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return.”, and I am sure, that while I can not see him, Larry will be doing his turn of joy at that moment.

Larry McClarey

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10 Comments

  1. My deepest condolences, Don. Thank you for sharing that with us. I am fairly new to your blog and didn’t know this story. What a handsome young man. May he rest in eternal peace.

  2. God’s Holy Peace be yours Mr. and Mrs. McClarey. It’s hard to believe it’s been six years yet it has. In December of that year my Dad went home too. God bless and keep them. Larry’s 360° turnabout touched at the very center of God’s heart bringing about a radiant smile. He is still touching hearts. Always will be…forever and ever.

    Have a blessed Lent.

  3. I’m late responding to this but I really love when you post this about your beautiful son Larry. He must have been such a blessing for you and your wife Donald and for your family. I can only imagine how much you all miss him, even as the years roll over. You have a true Saint in heaven, and can only hope Larry is praying for us all so we may all attain Heaven as he has. God Bless you and your family Donald.

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