Gay transitioned from this life to another the morning of October 1st, 2020 and now rests in Roselawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Monroe, MI. In the final weeks before she left us, she told us about a blue man, in robes, who was visiting her. It reminded our family of the song we had chosen for her funeral service “You Have Come Down to the Lakeshore”, refrain: Sweet Lord, you have looked into my eyes; kindly smiling, you call out my name. On the sand I have abandoned my small boat; now with you, I will see other seas. And often, as her body struggled to leave this world, we gave her permission to get on the boat and go with the man across the lake to a place where she could leave the boat to see “Uncle Woo” (our cousin Norman Capaul) and all the people she loved who we are already in heaven.
Our dearest cousin and pastor, Jim Bischoff, gave this homily when we placed Gay’s body in the earth. The image for this blog is of Gay with “Jim”, the fluffy dog that accompanied her to all our doctor’s visits and surgeries in 2020 (and named for Pastor Bischoff after the visit with her that he references below).
The image of a journey kept jumping into my thoughts. On January 2nd, 1966 the journey
for Gay, Beth & Claire, and Amy, and all the rest of us began as Gay got into her small
boat. It would not be an easy journey to say the least. It would include a lot of pain, sacrifice, frustration, tears, but also, joy, love, laughter, happiness and blessing. We all experience all of these things on our own life journeys, in varying degrees. A big difference is that Gay did not have the privilege to guide her own journey as she would wish. Hers was guided by others – how blessed she was to have you Beth & Claire as her parents and Amy as a sister. I really didn’t know Gay well. I was 15 when she was born – so in a couple of years I was away at college and seminary and living in the parts of the country while she was growing up. My interaction with her was mainly at family gatherings. There was only one time, outside of those gatherings, that Dave and I stopped to visit in the Upper Peninsula that I was with Gay and her parents alone. Even so I would hear the “news” of how she was doing, her good times and not so good times and a bit of a stinker at times (wonder where she got that, Bethany?). I did learn that Gay and I had something in common (other than our Bischoff DNA) and that is our intense dislike for IVs!. This journey would take you all to so many different places, different shores, and Gay would come to know many, many people who would touch her life and she would touch theirs in her own way. She endured surgeries, doctor’s visits, and finally a disease that would end her physical life. What a journey it was. A journey with a loving family and, always with constant presence of God.
As Amy told a colleague of hers in the days following the funeral, Gay’s wheelchair and braces are empty, her body rests in a beautiful grave, but we know that she is really dancing across the heavens.
Our sincere thanks to our cousin, David Capaul, and the Capaul funeral home in Ida, Michigan for your professional and loving support during Gay’s remembrance and burial process.
Our family invites you to continue the journey of remembering Gay’s life and all the ways that she changed us and the world around her, more to come! We love you, Gay!