Chris Bradley's wife Judith died Saturday evening about 18:00 after a long battle with cancer. Chris said there would be a memorial service in about a month.
Friends. Thank you for being a part of it all. Our lives cannot properly measured by personal accomplishments, nor the amount of our holdings. To truly understand someone, look to the people they call friends. Judith was not Judith, without you.
This eulogy was presented at her memorial service on Saturday July 16. Many in attendance were impressed by its eloquence..... it was her character that gave root to these words, I just assembled them.
I love you all.
Life is short. And we do not have much time to gladden the hearts of those who travel in the dark journey with us.
So be swift to love , make haste to be kind, so that, peace and joy, hope and light might emerge in you and through you to all people everywhere ..today and forever.
Similar words, are a common closing message of the Episcopal worship service .
Early in her life, hearing words such as these, Judith must have placed them in her heart for a while.
Her last words to her husband were whispered: Why do you look so sad? Hold my hand.”
Comfort offered not for her, but for him. Hold my hand .Words, so very much in keeping with her character.
Cancer’s storm erodes the body. But she would not let it dampen her spirit or darken her presence.
Cancer, ironically, permits a long good-bye. Life , to some, is a series of good/ byes.Yet for her, life was all about saying: Hello!
She, purposefully, chose you.
Sought you out.
Asked you in.
You are here today, because of her simple desire to be in good company.
You, so assembled, are like a grand mosaic , I can see her so very clearly: the sum of your parts.
Docents from the Nat’l Museum of American Art and the National Cathedral are with us. They, the teachers whose mission it is to educate and clarify the eye of the beholder.Judith was partial to the artists of the Hudson River School, but, importantly, she rarely spoke ill of any artists or their work.
Here, are Librarians and bibliophiles from all over the place. Judith was a librarian by profession.
My reassignments with the Dept of Justice caused her to leave libraries that she loved. I have come to question the fairness of that process. And yet, our moving, enabled her to broaden the paths to friendship .
She worked in Public systems in Plano, Tx and Wash D.C. and was the librarian for two local Catholic Schools: Gonzaga and the Academy of the Holy Cross .
She read like no one I have ever known
A book in her hands was held in -an -embrace.
Reading was her only truly selfish act.
When she opened a book it was if she were taking of the hand of a silent lover.
In the midst of these affairs, she would sometimes pronounce, as if to the world: “This is A Really good book!”.
Reading, she would laugh, cry, weep.Intrigued, I would interrupt her adoration to ask: “What is that book about?”Her dismissive response never deviated: You! wouldn’t like it.”
This declaration had considerably, more meaning : For I had, invaded a sanctuary not meant for me.
Gourmands and Gourmets are with us .Judith loved to employ the culinary arts .She liked lamb chops, fresh tomatoes, garlic, pasta, spices and cheese. For her, to place cheese on the palate was an act of liberation. Certainly, a just God will have purged heaven of the food police allow only butter to grace the celestial tables.
At the reception, will be a part of her 500 volume cookbook collection. Please take at least one home. Bon Appetit!
Marines are always with us. Always faithful: Semper Fidelis. Judith dearly loved watching boys with toys..even as they grew to be men.
Mary Washington College Alumnae are here. She had been her class president.
We met there. She was an American Studies major, a history buff.And I, a visiting Marine from Quantico, the eventual birth place of both our children.
I won her hand.
Our marriage was bound by pursuits that led us to battlefields and archives. In our travels together, we always seemed to end up in cemeteries, softly placing our hands upon the worn markers of the dead.
Our family is here: Diane, Judith’s only sibling, and her family from Virginia. Judith’s cousins David and Dale.
My sister Tina, and her family from Nebraska. Our son Garrett and his wife Mary, from Minnesota.
Our lovely daughter Sarah and our Grand, granddaughter Claire, both of whom reside with us.
Here also, some people from the small village of her youth. Germantown, NY. She was so much a product of that village and the people who made it thus.
We all would profit from a spiritual visit to that time and place..There, you knew your neighbors, warts and all. And they knew you.Your reputation was an important element in your success or failure.
Judith reflected the values of that place: respect for one’s parents and elders, for authority and the law. I never met a woman so desirous of being on time. These were some of the foundations upon which she was so solidly constructed.
CANCER SURVIVORS. Well, more than a few are here today. ... all engaged in our own grim battles."Hold my hand.” Judith held hands with many people hoping for answers. Failing to visit your doctor is an unreasoned act. For you can, beat cancer!Sometimes... But never, alone.
So, fittingly, She and I want to publicly salute and thank all the nurses, doctors, and techs , indeed, all the medical professionals who were with us in our fight.Seen and unseen, these special people were there for us; hundreds of them offering their helping hands.
Also, there are some friends who could not come here today. They are here in spirit and in our thoughts, as we are in theirs.
Judith and I have been members of St. John’s for over 4 years.
Look about you. This church’s physical and spiritual structure is aligned to the light. Here, in this place, on the darkest of days in the darkest hour, there will always be light. Even for the un-en-lighten-ed. Judith was so naturally drawn to places of fellowship and light.
At the end of this service, the candles, will be extinguished.This ancient, repeating ritual, symbolizes important elements of Christianity. The candles, remind us that man’s individual illumination, our own life on earth, is both fragile and finite.
Judith Finger Bradley knew that she could not save the world. She optimized the possible, she understood that there are some things we cannot know and some things we, cannot change.
She was so pleasantly pleased with life ... as it is.
In each and every chance encounter she promoted the idea that life need not be a contest nor a race. She was the worse possible person to have on your team if only winning mattered.
Judith’s posture, her words , her smile and her offered hand combined to say:
“Relax, take your pack off , you have reached safe ground. Let us talk of cheese, and books, and upon a beach, how waves might sound.”
Docents and teachers, Diners and cooks,
Marines and college girls,Lovers of books
Germantown and Bethesda neighbors, Tested travelers from Texas to Turkey
Those with and without cancer, friends and family, close and far away,
You, are here this day. The ingredients of her greatest recipe.
Perhaps God placed her upon this earth To be a divine spark to ignite friendship and to cause this very group to be.
Perhaps the always Unknowable God took her back just to permit us to assemble this day, to praise her effort to cause us to follow in her footsteps.It is all a great mystery.
So here, today, by design, we have gathered together: A small community of friends and family, united by a ritual, sacred farewell to honor the life of an absent friend and send her on her way.
Now we , the living,blessed and inspired by the quality of her companionship,and wondering always about our own purpose , may want to renew friendships with one another.
To enlarge this special universe of friends.
To offer our own hand.
Thank you Judith for including us in your journey.
God speed you home. !
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