January 25, 2016 from the Mendocino coast
Doris L. Krause, mother of Allison Krause killed in the Kent State massacre of May 4, 1970, peacefully crossed over on January 17, 2016 in the loving arms of her family
Eulogy for Doris L. Krause from her daughter, Laurel Krause
Last week while I was walking along the California coast near my home, I was called to my mother Doris Krause’s bedside by hospice caregivers informing me that her time was near. Mom had stayed in Pittsburgh, our family home, perhaps for the same reason I went very far away. We shared a tragedy in our family that broke our hearts and wounded our spirits but ultimately deepened the love between us in ways we might not have otherwise known. We have carried this wound for so many years but I arrived back home in Pittsburgh to experience a profound healing with Mom. I am moved to share our experience as we lay her body to rest.
It is well known among you all that our family has been troubled by my sister’s Allison’s killing by the US military as she protested the Vietnam War on her campus, Kent State University. What you may not know is the ensuing US government pressure and harassment of our family that affected every aspect of our life since May 4, 1970. The pain of losing my beautiful sister was unspeakable to me. I carry her loss with me to this day, as I do her immense, magnanimous spirit. But my mother lost a child. And that is perhaps the greatest burden of all. When we add to this how unnecessary Allison’s death was, the betrayal of it being carried out by a government meant to protect us, and the crushing pressure of the denial of accountability for now decades, I am truly astounded by the grace and fortitude with which Doris faced this legacy.
When my father Arthur passed away in 1988, my mother was left to maintain our now small family on her own, along with me, to honor Allison’s legacy.
We have walked a difficult path together but this week, all our troubles fell away. My mother and I loved each other without limit, and got beyond our lifelong hurt in losing Allison in such a painful, public way. All that mattered in our time together this past week was the love we shared, the joyful memories of growing up together, the laughter and the eternal bond we carry with us.
Mom and I found a way to let our mutual pain go. We expressed our deep gratitude to each other for sharing so much love, and most importantly, we found peace.
Mom shared with me that she was afraid to go to the other side but I was blessed to be able to walk her over and let her know about the welcome banquet being prepared in her name. That our beloved dog LB was ready to greet her and that my father Arthur and sister Allison had been waiting too long for her arrival.
At 90 Mom has been severely health challenged these last few years. As we walked together, I saw her leave her troubles and suffering behind. She went home to my father now gone 28 years. She has been able to embrace her daughter Allison, now gone almost 46 years and I watched and encouraged her. My sister had stood for peace and had died in its service. We have since been honoring her memory with our own commitment to peace. And as my mother left this world at my side, I saw for the first time … my mother at peace. And I know that she is now free.
Voiced at the graveside service of Doris L. Krause by Laurel Krause on January 19, 2016
Artwork by Roger Ballas