For some time I have wanted to write another email to this group. I have delaying in doing so simply because I was thinking of it as the 'last email." Goodness, I can't bear another last anything. So tonight I write to thank you, to update you and to tell you that I will do my best to post periodically to our family blog www.rayfitzgeraldfamily.blogspot.com And thus, thankfully, no goodbyes tonight.
It was one week ago that we buried Ray. Thank you to each of you who came to the wake and to the funeral. It was an incredible celebration of Ray and that was a joy to us. Your love for him and for us expressed in your presence was so tangible and meaningful to us, his family. The memorial gifts to the girls' education fund were so honoring to him. So too, the many many emails and cards speaking of Ray's legacy and assuring us that your prayers would not end now.
We are so grateful for your prayers. We find that while the severity of Ray's illness had prepared us for the actuality of his death, nothing could have prepared us for his absence. Many many times I find myself wishing like Maggie that Daddy would just fly out of heaven.
The road that stretches before us seems long. And yet we know that God, who selected this road for us, will not abandon us now. Thus we square our shoulders and soldier on, but so missing our dear companion.
Thankfully, there are the girls! They are so greatly in need of comfort, presence, and fun. I am glad for these demands.
We wanted to let you know of the date of the Washington D.C. Memorial Service for Ray. It will be on Thursday, February 26, followed by a time of Christian fellowship in Ray's honor. So, DC folk, save this date and we will post further details on the blog. Also on the blog are some tributes to Ray from Congressman John Shimkus, Ray's Congressional mentor and former boss, as well as a link to an article about Ray in the Chicago Tribune. Last, I am also attaching to this email the eulogy that I gave at Ray's funeral -- the love story of his life (posted on 1/26). We did videotape the funeral service and hope to get that posted up there somehow as well.
We care so much about all of you. Your companionship on this journey helped to carry us on the days we were just almost too tired to walk. We will always be indebted to you. We pray that you too, will be enriched by the beauty of Christian fellowship on the hard days of your journeys. We know this is God's very love for us on earth.
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows." 2 Corinthians 1:3-5
"A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling." Psalm 68:5
not alone and not afraid --