RECLAMATION PROJECT

1.)Phase One – Losing Myself
Rev up the Delorean, I’m going back. We all have that defining moment, pointed and prescient that had set our course. The forces of nature were strong and one wrong turn could have sent me reeling. I have a feeling it did.
My temerity was the social end of me, for as far as I can see, High School defined that moment in time, where I had let the ball drop.Not regret per se, but sadness now for those would have, should have, and could have moments so fleeting. Those errors of omission were well hidden in my condition from which I’ve been extricated. Celebrated now for my abilities to see things, and write things and expose things about me that without, would not be me. Debilitating was this fear to connect, rejection not something I handled well, or handled at all. So my fall from grace saved me from the disgrace of “embarrassing” myself by letting loose and living my life.
The perpetual lost boy languished in Neverland.
2.) Phase Two – Righting the Ship

Looky, looky, there goes Hooky!
The ribald Captain has been dispatched with a swift kick in his steering mechanism. A discovery, a long time in the making has taken a stand as well as command of my journey; a life’s worth of yearning for solid footing and a direction much easier to navigate than blindly following burned out novas in the cosmos of my mind. For in the stars, paths that crossed each other unnoticed have found a circuitous path to intersect once again.
Older now, more aware of selves and of this moment and what lead each to move to embrace it. In the kindling of a reborn kinship, acquaintances long removed and left unseen, find a connection that closes unsure circles, and opens the world to new adventures. Both stand, with eyes open like the wide-eyes kids we were when we began. A familiarity which neither knew, comes through to ground us as the friends we never realized we were.
The gathering of spirits once left to roam those hallowed halls has stepped back to touch base and begin anew, assuring us of the fact that yes, you can go home again.

EULOGY FOR JANE F. BURKOWSKI

I had been asked to deliver the Eulogy for Jane. She lived a different life than most in the family. And at 90 years of age, she had earned it. She owed nothing to anyone. Half the family that still loved and accepted her for who she was, took comfort in my words. The ones that looked down their noses at her all their lives, rolled their eyes and did not appreciate my candor. Bottom line: I liked Aunt Jane for the reasons listed below. But also because there was plenty of reason to like her. She was a human being. I could relate to that!

THE EULOGY

Today we celebrate the life of Jane Burkowski. These brief words touch on one small part of that life. It was a life that she lived by her own dictates. Whether people understood or agreed with her grand plan did not matter. The fact is we are what we are, and Jane was who she was. Being quick to judge her took the spotlight off of our flaws and imperfections. But what can I say about a woman from my perspective of as “outsider” looking in?
What  do we remember about Jane? That she worked at AM&As? That she was an avid sports fan? She love the Buffalo Bills, the lay of the land at Fort Erie Racetrack and the ponies that played there. That she held her heritage and language and faith close to heart? That she loved her brother John, and although they had their differences the love always shone through. I’m sure there was a time when she probably could remember more about us than we did of her. Maybe we could have tried a little harder to achieve that familiarity. Jane’s life had become just a matter of existence; a daily cross to bear, unwittingly.

She did no more or no less than any of we do to survive in the life we were given. She was no better and no worse than anyone in this church. In her later days she was made comfortable and Jane was afforded the dignity of passing as she had lived. In her own way; in her own time.

On a personal note, I liked Aunt Jane. I liked her independence and I liked that she pushed people’s buttons. Good or bad, she got people to give her attention whether they intended to or not. I loved her laugh, a cross between a cackle and a cavort; when she was filled with joy, her presence was known.  My regret is in not having taken the time to know her just a little better. In my eyes, she was good people; better than most.
In the final analysis, you didn’t care that you had been forgotten by her. You embrace the brief flashes of lucidity that graced her and accept that life had caressed her heart.
This week, life stopped caressing Aunt Jane’s heart and placed her in the caring hands of her Heavenly Father, her Boze (Bo-zha – Polish for God/Jesus) to whom she talked and prayed. Her nephew Kenny Rompala cleared her way and held the gate opened for her as she returned to the eternal warmth of her mother, Frances, for whom she cared in her later years, and is once more in the embrace of her beloved father, Jan, and siblings Mary, Rose, Bertha and Emil. Thankfully, there remains an empty seat in this family grouping for the moment. Jane has gone to a better place where she will always remember and hurtful words cannot denigrate the life she chose to live. She is home again; a new home.  May God bless you, Aunt Jane. Rest in peace.