The Jervis McEntee Diaries - June 15, 1883

Diary Entry:

Friday, June 15, 1883 Mary, Downing and I came up by the 8 oclock train. Girard and John McEntee met us at the ferry and told me all the arrangements had been made for the funeral, which was to be private at 5 oclock today. We found Nannie here and Marion had not returned. My poor mother was overcome when I met her. Sara went with Downing and me up to Maurices room to look at him. Girard and Tom had dressed him and the undertaker had been here to lay him out. I was surprised at the look of peaceful dignity upon his face after these ten days of wretchedness. All his troubles ended at last. All my hardness and bitterness gone and in its place pity and sorrow. Sara told us with tears about their bringing him home Wednesday evening. How the wind moaned and after they had got him in his bed she listened on the stairs and heard him moan and sigh, and she did not go in, thinking it was the same thing he had gone through so many times before. She reproached herself that she had not gone in and spoken to him. In the morning she went in and asked him if he did not want a drink of water, and offering him a little in a glass he clutched it and with wild eyed eagerness swallowed it. Dr Smith had seen him the night before and told her he was in a very bad way. What he must have suffered all that night, and to think that he had so alienated us all that we could not even go to see him and try to help him in his agony. I confess it seemed dreadful to me. I doubt whether I would have gone near him had I been here. She was with him when he died about 9 o'clock this morning. He died peacefully at last of congestion of the lungs brought on by excess and exposure, Dr Smith said. The undertaker came after dinner and put him in the coffin in the sitting room. His poor head was burned in two places and although he looked peaceful and at rest, decomposition had begun and it was seen that it was wise to have had the funeral today. I took my poor mother in to see him. She cried as if her poor heart would break over her poor erring boy. I tried to make a pencil sketch of him as he lay in his coffin. The funeral took place at 5 oclock, the services by Mr. Magee. He was very sympathetic and spoke with much tenderness his idea being that God had called him from his trials and temptations to a better sphere. There were no people here besides our own family excepting the bearers, Mr. Wood, John Romeyn, G[?] Webster, Archie Winter, Oliver Brigham and a Mr [blank] from the Freeman office. Julia and Lily came down from High Falls. We went to the cemetery and laid him under the June shadows of the trees this most beautiful June evening. I did not think I could feel so tenderly for him. When I read my words of only a few days ago I realize how death can make us forget and how it softens and subdues all the hardness of our natures. I cannot get him out of my mind. As he lay there silently in his coffin how he rebuked all my impatience and how I could remember only his sufferings, his temptations, of which I presume I have no conception, and how easy it was to forget and forgive all the anxiety and trouble he had cost us all. How far off all this seemed a few short days ago, how perplexing this awful problem which God has solved for us and for him in his mercy. I little thought to close this volume of my diary with so sad a story. Dear Gertrudes death closed the former one. I shall try to be more patient henceforth with the living. I have much to learn in that direction. One never can regret being kind and forbearing and forgiving. If I could have been more tender towards Maurice I might perhaps have had more influence with him, but his course of life drove us apart until we became almost as strangers. I think he had a respect for me, but I had but little for him. I think I was a kind of standing rebuke to him and we were not easy in each others society. I have no wish to vindicate myself. I might have been more lenient even if he had not responded. That I should never have regretted while I do regret that I could not have been more patient; But he is with the Kind Father who pitith all his children and he will give him the rest and peace which were denied him here.

< Previous Entry | Next Entry >