Still Alive at 95!
See video of this funeral
Gospel starts at 13:15
Homily starts at 15:15
Today, once again, we’re reminded how inevitably, time marches on. Even the stars in Heaven eventually succumb to time. Stars millions of years old will eventually go out. Everything dies at some point. And so, when we compare out lives to the lives of the stars, people say, “You know, we’re just a moment in time”. So why do we care? Its because of what’s contained in that moment in time that we care.
Katie’s moment in time began in 1925 and continued on ‘til 2020 – a month short of turning 95. That’s a long time. But what’s more, is what was contained in that 94 years and 11 months. She was born just 22 years after man took his first flight. And look at what she saw in her life.
She was a good, Catholic, Polish girl, went to Catholic school and received all of her Sacraments at St Francis of Assisi, there in Detroit. The interesting thing is that she was raised there in the Detroit area right off the banks of Lake St. Clair which I was stationed at for 2 years. And we spent a lot of time coming into Hamtramck to be able to enjoy festivals and stuff like this. I wonder if in the mid-1970’s if I didn’t cross paths with your mom at some point. Wouldn’t that have been something wonderful to be able to celebrate today?
But I remember, I met a gentleman, and we were talking, and he gave me his name and I didn’t understand what he was saying. And I said, “Could you spell that?” Don’t ever ask a Polish person to spell their name. Every consonant in the alphabet is there and then they buy a vowel. And they just throw a vowel in there once in a while to break up all the consonants. And then, what do they do? They turn around and shorten their name for us. So, you have Dennis instead of Deninski. You have all of these different names, and you even shorten it to Kozak because one day I may have to stand up here and say that name.
But she eventually went to work in a Cadillac plant that made the engines of the tanks that eventually won the Pacific war. And not only that, but she won a Pacific soldier. She always wanted to be an engineer, and maybe she never got the chance to sit down with a blank canvas and draw something up and create something in the ways that engineers would do that. But, when she got married, she engineered something out of nothing. What I see here before me today was her engineering.
So, what a blessed life she had. And she loved her culture. Again, I got a taste of that culture. I was very into the Polish culture while I was up in Detroit on Lake St Clair. But she took her culture and built clubs dancing, teaching people to dance, performing all of this stuff. And not just that, but she continued to build even from there. Every child got from a bolt of cloth – every child got new curtains for their homes.
What a blessing! Just amazing what her life had and what she was able to do. As I look out at everybody, you know, none of you guys would be here without her. What an interesting life she lived. And, yes, she was one month short of turning 95 which Steve said she could say, “Still alive at 95!” Well, she missed out on that just a tad. But the fact is that she is still alive. She might not be able to say it, but you guys get to be able to say it because everything that you do from this moment forward will reflect what she gave to you – how she built your lives. Here’s the sad part about time. It does continue to march forward. And, again, today we come here because Katie’s time here has been marked at an end, but her time is not. She lives outside of time. Nothing limits her in what she does. Nothing limits her in what she’s able to do for you. So, whenever you have that 2:00 dinner on Sunday, which I pray to God you continue to have, always remember to place a plate for Katie and an empty chair there for her. The grandbabies and great-grandbabies can sit in the chair because they will be sitting on her lap. You adults need to stay out of that chair.
But rejoice. Rejoice because today is such a special day even though we have to acknowledge the inexorable march of time.
[Katie Kozak was Born to Eternal Life on September 29, 2020]