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"Death is a biological event. No life event can stir more emotionally directed thinking in the individual and more emotional reactiveness in those about him."

— Family Therapy in Clinical Practice. 1978. New York: Jason Aronson, Inc., pp. 321-322 (Chapter 15, "Family Reaction to Death" (1974))

We are all real sad about Dear Archie but we have known this day was coming for a long time. Every time the kids have left home the past three years they have told him "Goodbye" as if that was the last. So, we cannot bemoan his passing as much as we have to celebrate that he was an unusual assemblage of poodle protoplasm, that he lived longer than most poodles, that he was intimately involved in everything in the family through some of the most important years of this family life, that he managed to stay in tune and "on beat" with everything in the family every step of the way, that his protoplasmic programming kept him on course longer than is average for his breed, that he weathered the cataracts and the impaired hearing as if it was all in the days work, and that at the end when his life purpose had long since been fulfilled, his fighting heart was still struggling for yet another minute, another hour, or another day with LeRoy and his beloved family. The triumph of one protoplasm is a triumph for everything that lives, lest we forget… When you return, Archie's corporal being will still be a part of 4903 DeRussey Parkway. And so it shall always remain as long as the living can still remember all the protoplasms that went before. Archie was a magnificent one. He knew the way and he stayed around until the poplar and the ash trees were turning to yellow and the maples and the dogwoods to red. Life is forever, lest we forget.


Forever and ever, forever, Murray "Dad"


—Dr. Bowen to Family, October 12, 1978

Dad… when you are feeling low, and when you have about decided that living is no longer worth the candle…, I hear you loud and clear. I still have a helluva lot of things I want to do before I "check in my chips" but I often doubt that I would want to spend 85 consecutive Summers and 84+ Winters when it is easier to "check in" than keep traveling. The main thing I want to communicate here is that I "hear you," and above all else I respect your own decision about your life. I believe man does exercise some decision in such matters, and beyond that it is a matter of chance and good fortune. The main problem in "checking in one's chips" is that it also involves "others" and "others" also have to do with the timing. The more one's life is intergeared with others, the more others can help one to carry on, and the harder it becomes to make a decision independent of others. Picture "Little Put" Allison, pretty much alone and isolated from his family. It was relatively easy for him to permit his heart to "cave in" and to check in his chips early.


—Dr. Bowen to Family, December 17, 1971

Along the way my family of origin became more meaningful than ever before. Home was secure as long as my parents were there to maintain a home base. Home was as meaningful as it was in my childhood. Each trip home was another effort to know more and to further my effort to be an individual in my own right. I had tried for 20 years to deal with death and you know this was a meaningful way to deal with death, and not some crazy ruminations about death.


—Bowen, Murray. Big Brother Returns Home Again. Paper presented at Georgetown Family Center Symposium, October 9, 1982

Dr. Bowen at Pleasant Valley Cemetery, later know as Page Cemetery for Page Farm, 1969. Photographer unknown.