Thursday, October 15, 2009

1931, Sept. 17: HMK to RH -- Death of Eldest Brother F.C.

Thursday, September 17th, 1931


My dear R.H.

What mockery the Fates make of those who defy them and what a task it is to be defiant still. On Sunday I was lying in the grass under a mighty elm looking up at a cloudless sky so near that I might almost have touched it and listening to Mme. Volavy playing Gl├╝ck. It was a thing, so serene, so spiritual, so calm yet at that moment unknown to me they were killing my eldest brother with an amputation. He did not die until today although I have been praying constantly since I heard what they had done to him that he might. For he was a great lover of trees and rivers and lakes and lived with a fishing rod ever at hand and I could not bear to think of him sitting there with his dogs, just waiting. I am not grieving for him though I am unutterably sad for I know that the souls of the righteous are in the hands of God and that my brother is in peace and that at least he has become a part of all things he loved the most, the sun and the wind on the water, soft rain and gray clouds, little flowers that hide in the woods, the good earth. But I wonder at the design of which he was a part, this good and simple man who loved his fellow men and was very loved by children and by dogs and so of course very much beloved of God and what purpose he fulfilled in this plan so far wider than men may dream of. Do not be sorry for me and never for him for he has come into a glorious kingdom far from this stupid dream which we so surely think is all there is of life. The eldest and I the youngest and yet he seemed ever younger than I myself have ever been. Write when you feel in the mood and not because of this.


Faithfully,
HMK


[Note: The brother of HMK is my great-grandfather F.C., Frederick Christian Schmidt, 72 y/o, who died this day after a leg amputation due to gangrene possibly associated with stomach cancer. FC was HMK's eldest brother and some 16-17 years older than HMK.]

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