DANCING IN THE STARS
by Barbara Guarino Kruk
I remember a time when the elderly prepared for their death. It was not morbid or sad, they knew that their time would come and they wanted to be ready. For many, the prospect of death was not to be feared, but embraced. They had worked hard, lived a wholesome life and now, in the twilight of life, they were moving on to the next phase. My grandmother Helen decided early on that she was going to wear the dress she had worn for my wedding as her shroud when she died. Very methodically, she bought an embossed box, lined it with black tissue paper to prevent discoloration, and very ceremoniously laid the garment and all the necessary accessories in the box. She was very pleased and proud of herself when it was done and told all those concerned where it was kept and exactly how she intended it to be used. It was her way of taking control over a time in one’s existence that we generally have very little to say. When that day came, as I knew it would, my beautiful grandmother, at a blessed ripe old age of ninety-seven was laid to rest in that sequin mint green evening gown with all the trimmings down to the last detail. I was so proud of her; she had done it her way.
When Thomas Duerr died, his beloved wife Rose was crushed. She lost her best friend, her lover and the man of her dreams. Rose never remarried, perhaps, no man could ever match up to her wonderful husband. After her passing, her daughter Lorraine presented me with a box. “These are the garments my Mom had saved to wear when she died.” She began to explain how important this dress was to her Mom because she had worn it to a very special occasion just before her Dad died. I reverently lifted the lid. Cradled between layers of tissue paper was a beautiful white dress with beaded detailing, undergarments, all new. “I will bring her shoes when my granddaughter arrives” said Lorraine holding back her tears. I assured her that this was not uncommon for older folks to prepare their shrouds and related the story of my grandmother Helen. She felt better.
The next day Lorraine came back to the office, a lovely young woman was escorting her; she introduced her granddaughter. The young woman lovingly presented me with a pair of deep purple satin shoes and matching satin clutch purse. I knew exactly what to do.
As they were leaving, Lorraine turned to me and said, “Please you must get those shoes on my Mom. They are her dancing shoes.” She must have seen the look on my face; after all, Rose was already 95 years old. “You see, her and my Dad would go ballroom dancing when they were young. When the television program Dancing With the Stars came out she was so thrilled to see that ballroom dancing was still alive and well. She watched it faithfully, always commenting about how her and my father would do the same steps. It made me feel good to see her enjoying it so much.”
Rose Rita Duerr, at the tender age of ninety-five, dressed in her beautiful white dress, her purse in her hands and the purple dancing shoes on her feet, after decades of waiting, finally was reunited with her beloved Thomas.
I am sure they are dancing the nights away in Heaven.
Joseph W. Goodey, age 83, of Moriches, passed on November 13, 2016. He is survived by wife Eileen, sons Brian and Mark, daughter Lynn Almond and five grandchildren. Joseph worked as a school teacher in Lindenhurst. He served with the United States Army for this proud nation. Visiting was held at Sinnicksons Moriches Funeral Home in Center Moriches. Mass was held at St. Johns RC Church in Center Moriches. Interment followed with military honors to Calverton National Cemetery.
Rose Rita Duerr, age 95, of Mastic, slipped peacefully into Heaven on November 7, 2016 at Brookhaven Memorial Hospital. Rose was born in Brooklyn and was a factory worker, then a homemaker. Widowed for over two decades after the death of her beloved Thomas, she found love and comfort with her children. She was the loving mother of Lorraine (Henry) Martin and Carol (Georg) Fischer. She was the cherished grandmother of six, great-grandmother of fourteen, great-great-grandmother of two and beloved sister to Doris Riedel. Rose enjoyed going to Atlantic City, playing bingo, crafts, knitting and crocheting, and baking. Before her husband’s death Rose and Thomas would dance the night away with their ballroom evenings. Her favorite television show was, “Dancing with the Stars.” Rose was an animal lover. Family and friends were received at Roma Funeral Home in Shirley. Wake prayers were conducted by Msgr. John Heinlein of St. Jude’s RC Church where a Mass was offered. Interment took place at Calverton National Cemetery.
Ernest J. Vigliotta, age 91, of Center Moriches, passed away peacefully at his home surrounded by family and friends on November 12, 2016. He is survived by his wife Philomena, sons John and Paul, daughters Maria Sikora, Joan Kret, Margaret McMahon, Angela Werner and Theresa Hubbard, brothers Chris and Albert, sisters Tina Vigliotta, Jean Delaney, Margaret Nardone and Elisa Hines, thirty grandchildren and many great-grandchildren. Reposing was held at Sinnicksons Moriches Funeral Home in Center Moriches. Mass was held at St. Johns RC Church in Center Moriches. Interment was held at Calverton National Cemetery with military honors.