I am obviously all about looking back these days and trying to make some sense of our past. At D's Memorial Service our pastor noted that D and I had been married for 12 years and that 7 of those years had been spent fighting the cancer. I had not really thought of that: we were so busy trying to make the best out of the lives we were given that it never seemed that the "cancer" years were longer than the "healthy" years.
D and I were very different in some ways: I love having people around and have many friendships that are over 35 years long. Being around people absolutely fills me up. D was more private and was not a fan of crowds. Being around people took a lot of energy out of him. My family laughed after the Memorial Service because, while we knew that D would have loved those hours spent with family and friends in song, words, prayer and fellowship, he would have been equally as ready to go home afterwords and escape the crowd!
Today most of the kids will be going back home: E and M to Washington State University and H to TCU in Fort Worth. She is in a chaplaincy graduate program and was doing an internship at a children's hospital in Dallas when she was called to come here for her dad. She's decided to not return to the stress of working with sick and terminally ill children for now, but to just take the rest of the summer off to refresh and renew before fall classes begin again. I think that is wise.
K is still here helping me with some of the day to day chores that must be finished; her husband has returned to Missouri. C and J came back from Costa Rica a month early and are having to make some adjustments for their next month before returning to Texas State University in the fall.
I love having them all here, but I will also love the absolute quiet of being alone when everyone is gone. I may get to take a trip to Maine in the next few weeks (driving north and out of this heat: just what I was looking for!) before I go back to the Land of First Grade. I am looking forward to the "life" of being around children. I've taught throughout D's illness, and the best distraction for me was always going to school, shutting the door to my room and enjoying the hustle and bustle of a classroom full of students.
So, back to that "blurb" idea. Here is the view of D's life in the rear view mirror from his Memorial:
"D passed away after a valiant seven year battle with cancer. He was surrounded by his loving family at Christopher House in Austin.
D was born in Binghamton, New York and raised in Hanover, Pennsylvania. He served our country in the Navy for four years during the Vietnam War, and then graduated from UNCC with a degree in mechanical engineering. He was a master woodcraftsman. D loved his God, his family, his friends and his church."
My encouragement to you today? John 10:10 says that "He has come to give us life and give it to us abundantly." That is for now, not for "some day" when everyone is well, all the ducks are in a row, or (fill in your own blank).
Because looking back? I don't think we missed one blessing that was meant for us. That is a great "blurb" to place across this life.