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May 15, 1969

Had she beaten cancer, today my sister Ruthie would have been 43 years old. Yesterday her husband Mike heard from the monument company that they would be delivering her tombstone this morning at 10. Such timing. This morning Mike, Mama and I stood by in the Starhill Cemetery watching the two men finish setting the stone. After they left, we said the Our Father, and Psalm 23, then were quiet for a minute. Mama and I told Mike we loved him, then walked on, to let him be with Ruthie alone on her birthday.

It was a great day when she came into this world. Mama said to Mike as we left, “I love you, buddy. Thank you for making her life so happy.”

You want to see something stronger than granite? Look:

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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