by Christopher Harbin

Louise Coffey Harvey
Christopher B. Harbin
Ecclesiastes 3:1-11; John 14:1-7

Memorial Service, 26 July 2008

We gather here to celebrate the life of Louise Coffey Harvey. Louise lived a long, active life. Her days and years were filled with friends, family, country music, and bowling balls.

A life of 83 years covers many things. I did not have the privilege to know Louise. To the many who did know her, she was many different things. She was a sister, mother, wife, friend, grandmother, great grandmother, bowling partner, and other things besides. In one sense, that is what makes grief so difficult. Each individual grieves over a different aspect of the one who has passed out of our circle. The loss of a mother is different from that of a sister or bowling partner. The death of a grandmother is not the same as that of a friend.

We grieve for our own sense of loss. In reality, we grieve for ourselves. We can do nothing here to harm Louise, nor indeed to help her. She is beyond our reach. In that realization, it is for our own loss that grief comes to interrupt our lives and routines. There will be no more phone calls, bowling competitions, rides in the care, or visits with her. The opportunities for those things are irrevocably gone, so we must wrestle with any of those might-have-beens that will never be.

Ecclesiastes 3 tells us that there is time in life for many things. There is time for living and dying, rejoicing and grieving. There is time for remembering. As we consider Louise, those memories are likely filled with figurines of angels, unicorns, fairies, but especially bowling balls. There are those times spent with family and friends throughout Nelson County and along the Tye River. There are the national bowling competitions in Tucson, Niagara Falls, Florida, California, and even Washington State. There is the gold medal for bowling in the senior Olympics.

Then there are the memories of home cooked meals, often experimen ...

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