When we get older…Read this when I die!!

…we think about our mortality.

In high school we begin to see classmates lose grandparents. A few decades later we begin losing parents. We get older and begin losing friends.  We begin to seriously think about our own death. What if man invented heaven because death without afterlife was too scary?  What about purgatory and limbo; are those real places?  If I die too soon will my grandchildren remember me?  Should I write my obituary?  Should I destroy all my fat pictures before they are used on a memorial DVD?

This is how I’ve chosen to look at death. It is birth to new life; a life unknown. It compares to the infant leaving the comfort of mother’s womb to move through the dark birth canal to new life. Some are born easily. Others move into this life with much difficulty.

When I leave I want to move into my new life easily. I want to go straight to heaven and be embraced by Jesus or Mary or maybe St. Anthony. If they are busy, I want one of my friends, probably Richard, to sneak me in the back door.

My Life…

…. I was born in this country I love with parents who gave me a decent education and taught me the Catholic faith. I have two beautiful compassionate daughters who demonstrate their love over and over. Jill and Jan are different, yet they are very much alike. Jill can’t miss a shower. Jan works one in when she has time. Jan sees the world in color and flies by the seat of her pants. Jill sees black and white and flies when scheduled with a ticket. Here the differences end. Both adore their children. Both are responsible and provide a good home for their children. Both are funny. Both know what is moral and right. I hope that they remain each other’s greatest supporters and are forever best friends. They are the only two who know what it is like to have me as a mother…God bless ’em.

My grandchildren are perfect – Dee is kind and treats everyone with love regardless of what they can do for her; Henry always tries to be funny and make me laugh; and Ruth (one who finally looks like me) runs to me with open arms. They should have each other’s backs forever.

I love my sisters and brother. Our parents could not have given us a more perfect gift than the gift of each other. We have remarkable families…aunts, uncles, in-laws, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren all equally loved. I trust when Joe, Elaine, Diane or I die our children will be on solid ground with family support a phone call away.

Kathy, Alice, Toni P. and Toni S. and Judy have been with me through marriage, separation, marriage, and then faithfully with me until my divorce, which took forever!  Kathy sometimes called herself my partner offering to divorce Vince and marry me if I need health insurance. Now that’s a friend! My friends have been there when I’ve been at my lowest wondering how I was going to make through the next week. I cannot imagine what my life would have been like without them.

Once my marriage ended… I needed more friends. I needed friends who were not tied to wives or husbands. I needed people as miserable as me. They were easy to find.

Louis Lopez and Ann Finney were my first divorced friends. I had known Ann for years, but we weren’t friends. One afternoon when I was afraid and lonely, I called her. She was at my house within hours. I’ve loved her since then. Louis was the facilitator at my divorce support group. He was a man who had been hurt by divorce.  He helped me not lump all men into the “creep” category.

I was lucky to reconnect with high school friends. Many I did not know, but it didn’t matter. We know each other now. More proof God keeps us well stocked with what we need.

When my marriage ended I was devastated. The emotional toll was a lot to bear, but I knew I would rebound, God is good.  I joined a support group. I started teaching for Red Cross. I got involved in divorce ministry. The archdiocese hired me. I thank Marilyn for telling David to hire me and thank David for obeying Marilyn. I’m not sure either of them had a choice. God placed me right where I belonged.

I have no idea what the future holds, but I believe it is perfectly planned. God has my back.

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