My dear friends,
This summer has been a challenging one for me. The loss of my husband was a slow evolving process as I watched the effects of his cancer progress. But, only six weeks later my brother John died unexpectedly from a massive heart attack. Some of you may recall meeting him here at St. Michael’s when he came to visit with my Mom. Most recently he was here for Steve’s funeral. John was hard to miss being 6’3” yet he had such similar features as me. We often would joke that we had the same barber. And as I arrived at his wife’s home the night before his funeral I was barely in the front door when she rubbed her hand in my hair and said, “I’m really going to miss this!”
At times like this I have been besieged with questions from family and friends who want to know, “What can I do for you?” I’ve been pondering that question a lot these days and here is what I recently answered my daughter-in-law when she asked.
Here is what you can do for me, Christina – “You can make your home a loving place for your beautiful children and your husband to be the best they can be. You can keep it a safe haven where they will feel at peace. You can make sure they are healthy and nurture good habits. Love each other deeply for life is so precious and so fragile.”
I wanted to share my words with you because I find that these apply to us all. As I consider the fleeting lives of both my brother and husband, all I wish for is that they would have experienced enough love in their lives to be the best persons they could be. The best as a spouse, a parent, a co-worker, a friend. And I feel that in order to rise to your potential you need a home that is a refuge from all that the world inflicts upon you, too. I would hope that when you return from work or outside duties you can leave the burdens at the door and find peace.
In such an environment finding practices that enable healthy growth and good habits should be the heart of your gift to each other. Steve and I did what we could with doctors, specialists, clinical trials, good food, and neighborhood walks. But in the end it was just being together, reliving the stories of our past, and keeping in touch with our children, family, and friends that meant so much to our well-being.
I don’t want you to think we were some ideal couple. Heavens, no! Forty-seven years of marriage taught us both that we have very different and strong opinions about how life should happen in our home. Coming to the best that we wish for each other probably was the result of knowing that life was coming to an end. Funny, how contemplating death can help us truly live!
I want to lean upon my recent experiences to remind myself and you that Christ has promised us an abundant life. It is not only a promise in the life to come – but most surely is in the here and now. Let me bless you with these familiar words: “Life is short, and we have little time to gladden the hearts of those who travel with us. So be quick to love and make haste to be kind”! May almighty God bless you today and always.