William E. Behrens of Washington,
Pennsylvania | 1931 – 2021 | Obituary
He was born on October 1, 1931, in Wheeling, WV, a son of the late Ellsworth and Rhea Eichenbrod Behrens.
Mr. Behrens graduated from Triadelphia High School, where he had met his future wife, and went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree from the University of South Carolina, where he attended on a football scholarship, and subsequently his Master’s degree from West Virginia University.
William proudly served in the United States Air Force, and was Honorably Discharged with the rank of Captain.
He was a long time member of Fairhill manor Christian Church, where he served as an elder.
Mr. Behrens was a teacher and a coach in the Washington, Trinity and South Fayette School Districts.
He was a Free Mason, and a member of the Edwin Scott Linton Post 175 of the American Legion.
William was a life long learner, and enjoyed traveling with his wife, and spending time with his family.
On June 7, 1952, he married Phyllis J. Snyder, who died on August 24, 2019. They had celebrated 67 wonderful years together.
Surviving are four children, Deborah A. (William) Farrer, of Washington, Charles W. (Erin) Behrens, of Bay Village, OH, Michael E. (Mary) Behrens, of Washington, and Thomas (Marianne) Behrens, of San Antonio, TX; fifteen grandchildren, Katie (James) Hall, Maggie (Philip) Amaismeir, Gina (Anthony) Trovato, Angie Cozadd, Liv Maciak, Connor Behrens, Zoe Kowalski, Aubrey (David) Cincinnati, Brandon (Ami) Behrens, Cassandra (Michael) Hazlett, Derek Behrens, Patrick Behrens, Sydney Behrens, Colin Behrens, and Norah Behrens; and his much loved twenty-one great grandchildren.
Deceased, in addition to his parents, and wife, are two sisters and a brother.
Interment in the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies will be private.
It has been a week since my father died. I have long known about and taught and somewhat experienced the five stages of grief from the loss of my grandparents, aunts, uncles, special friends and now both of my parents.
I believe the grief is as individual and as unique and as intimate and individual to each of us that for me to say, “I know what you’re going through,” or “I understand, because, I too, have lost my father, my mother, a brother a child, a good friend…” is never quite accurate.
Seven days into this new grief, what I’ve experienced more, it’s on the things that we don’t talk about or on a part of those stages, but still very real, very intimate, very individual and unique, at least to me.
Dare I say. . .
DARE I EVEN INSINUATE. . .
Another Face of GRIEF
. . .the one that has a
S M I L E
RELIEF. I feel a tremendous amount of relief with a good dose of a tinge of guilt, not so much because I won’t be making a couple of trips back to Washington, Pennsylvania on the weekend; not because I won’t be making phone calls in between visits or funerals or family obligations, but because I know my father is no longer confined to a bed or wheelchair or in his infamous words, “three walls and the ceiling.”
GRATITUDE. I feel an immense sense of gratitude over these past seven days. I often ask people sometimes at funerals and sometimes in presentations, “Listen, if I have a magical door, and by walking through that magical door, you would never shed another tear; you would never have a sense of loss; there would never be a moment of sadness at all, and all you had to do was just simply walk through the magical door, would you do it? Now right off the cuff, you might be thinking, “Absolutely, get me to that door.” But, like most things, there’s another side to the coin and yes, there are consequences for all of our actions and thoughts… so what is the catch here? It’s true, you would never have any other moments of sadness; there would be no sense of loss; you would not shed another tear and grief wouldn’t exist, but it also would mean that the person that you grieve would have never been a part of your life, which in some instances means it it would be physically impossible for you to even be here. Who would choose THAT DOOR? I’ve had a tremendous sense of gratitude not just because it would have been physically impossible for me to be here, but also because of all I’ve been able to be and do because I am here. I am grateful for more memories, it seems that my mind can hold or ever recall. Gratitude. . .for all of those people who were able to care for my dad these past five years while he was in the nursing facility. I’ve grieved this in my own life and I sort of grieved it even before the passing of my dad: I want to be all things to all people, especially the people that I love the most. Sometimes, in spite of it, BEING ALL THINGS is the last thing that I am able to do for those special people in my life. BUT, it seems like that is exactly when there are other people that do exactly what’s needed way more than I could have ever possibly be able to do. There have been these people in my father’s life who have gone way above and beyond their duties in offering an extraordinary compassionate care, not just physically, but emotionally, spiritually, and psychosocially. I find that “THANK YOU” are words that seem so cheap, and cliché-like, you get a time like this because they can’t convey the depth of appreciation and gratitude that you have for what they’ve done, that you couldn’t
PEACE. Now that’s a definition that you may be able to look up in Webster‘s or you may be able to Google it, but exactly what is that, WHAT IS PEACE? It’s a word that has Vaseline all over it because it’s a meaning, a definition that is as unique, as intimate to each person as their own fingerprint. I often say to somebody that I know who is grieving and even at a funeral, that their loved one’s peace will now be their peace, and I believe that if we have the Peace that the loved one has, it’ll be a peace that having experienced it, will then be a part of you ongoing.
I’ve always found it interesting that the stages of grief are not often lived on actual stages, where people can come, pay for a ticket and watch, maybe even applaud, maybe even get a standing ovation to the performance that you give them. And yet, it’s often one that we are still judged.
The initial takeaway: THIS GRIEF, the one that wears a smile on it’s distorted face, this grief, is a gift, maybe the last one that our loved one ever gives us because it is the one that last forever. I don’t grieve my grief, I embrace it. I refuse to go to THE DOOR that would erase it and though sometimes it may feel like hugging a porcupine, I’ll hug it all the tighter and feel honored that I have it to hug tighter because that’s my last act of love received in and through me for Some One else to experience when I too, am present but not here. . .
It’s tempting to grieve,
but I am severely happy
that what has begun with two people in love for over 70 years
and married for 67 of them,
started what they no way could imagine
and go on and on. . .
Yeah. . .
G R I E F
comes with a smile on its
F a C e