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Fri, 19 Jul 2002 15:00:21
I know it has been a long time since you turned your back on your family in Chicago after your father turned his back on you, but your mother loves you deeply and I hope that you will be able to make it to Regine's funeral tomorrow.
I spent last night with your Aunt Edna. Regine's death has come as a horrible shock to all of us, but there are no words to describe the pain and sympathy I feel for Edna and Claude. Whatever twists God or fate might bring to our lives, there is no horror so awful as living through the death of your child.
Edna and I spent most of the night crying and looking at photographs, which we were assembling onto posterboard for the wake. There you were, my five-year-old boy, running through the sprinklers with your six-year-old cousin. There we all were, assembled in front of Claude's cabin in Wisconsin, your father and Claude proudly holding their trophy trout, and you straining to lift yours on the line, it must have been half your weight. Regine in high school, the champion volleyball player, spiking at the net. Regine at the prom, with that boy she took, towering over him, that boy still waiting on his growth spurt at 17, and how beautiful she looked in that purple dress. Our rebellious Regine during her college years, with the spiked purple hair black eye shadow and torn-up jeans, and at her graduation from Northwestern, the dean holding her Magna Cum Laude degree high as she shook his hand, and the more mature Regine with her MBA from the University of Chicago, at the reception after in her prim business suit. Regine in pinstripes and sneakers. Regine on the Fourth of July, busily yapping on her portable phone while you and Buddy shagged flies behind. Regine from the annual report of OGVB, Vice President Dick Cheney (I suppose he wasn't that then), with his arm around her shoulder. Regine after her appearance on national television, where she talked up the future of energy. Four decades and two years gone by so quickly.
And your mother hasn't seen you for nearly four years. I know that your father said some things that he now regrets and we both want nothing so much as to see you. We want to be a family again.
There was a moment last night when Edna was weeping, weeping at what was missing, "She never got married, Cecilia." she said, "She never knew love." I know that Regine lived differently, lived as you do, but there was no reason for me to dispel Edna's illusions. I want you to know that we can live without illusions. Edward, we don't care who you love. We only care that we love you and you us.
Please fly home tomorrow. I will buy your ticket if money is a problem. Money doesn't matter in comparison to this grief. In comparison to the love a family shares. Please be with your family during this time of need. It will be like old times. Regine will be missing, but we should mourn her together.
With Deepest Love,