Saturday, June 6, 2009

Softball Season

Loved Ones,

Last night we attended a softball game of the Cress Creek Coyotes. Ray played softball on the team with our friends and neighbors for two years and was just entering his third season last year when he got sick.

The team got new shirts this year and on each sleeve is a shamrock with RMF.

They presented us with Ray's "Fitzgerald" jersey after the game.

And while it is so hard to bear Ray's absence at events like this, it is so meaningful to see the visible representation of love from Ray's friends.

We so appreciate this love and support and the comment from one friend, "We just want you to know, we won't forget Ray."

This makes Ray seem not so far away.

I ran a race this morning and as I glanced up I saw a man that looked just like Ray. His baseball cap, gray t-shirt, two little girls, smile for his wife. It seemed like just a little farther up Ray might be there too.

It still seems impossible that he won't be coming in from the infield, cheering me on in a race, wearing those t-shirts he wore a thousand times.

We all miss him so so much. I'm so glad that someday, we will see him again in heaven.

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you." 1 Peter 1:3-4

not alone and not afraid --


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Missing my Husband

Loved Ones,

They say that sickness and death reveal the real core of a person. I think that is probably true and if it is, the core of my husband was faith in God; kindness, thoughtfulness and love for others; graciousness in suffering; and of course, love of the White Sox.

I thought back today to a moment in the hospital that first time. When we got there and he had the first round of chemo, Ray was just so so sick. It was hard to imagine but in the week since his diagnosis the cancer had just weakened him so greatly, he wasn't himself at all. He started that first round of chemo really late at night and it knocked him out for a few days.

So we were getting closer to leaving and they'd prescribed a ton of different medications for Ray which I was attempting to fill at the hospital pharmacy. This took many trips back and forth for various reasons and when I was heading back downstairs once again, Ray looked at me and winked.

It was like my heart stopped. My husband! He was back!

Because of all things, Ray was an exceptional husband. Encouraging me in my small task of filling the prescriptions. While he fought cancer.

That was Ray.

Of all the things I miss, I really miss being Ray's wife.

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her." Ephesians 5:25

not alone and not afraid --


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Remembering June 3

Loved Ones,

It was June 3rd that we first heard Ray's prognosis. We met with Ray's doctor at Northwestern and she said, "So, what have they told you?" We were so uneducated about cancer that we truly did not know what to expect. But she went on to tell us that Ray's cancer was incurable. And that chemo would help, but not forever, and then Ray would die.

It was the worst possible thing that we could have heard.

We fought it, asking her questions about liver transplants and clinical trials. But her response was certain, and even clinical trials didn't offer curative treatment.

After she left I said to Ray that this did not change anything. That our hopes, that our confidence that it is God alone who can heal, were unchanged. And so we began the journey of knowing that the worst could happen and praying the God would heal Ray.

This year June 3rd is significant for another reason. It is Nora's last day of school. Kindergarten, that she started with her dad and will finish with him in heaven.

I know that for Nora, Ray is still here in many ways. She never draws our family without him. Her latest creations have him in shorts with 4th of July fireworks in the sky. And we know that Ray is with us in our hearts.

How we wish that his healing had been here on earth! That he would be with us tomorrow when Nora comes off the bus from that last day of school -- just like he was when we sent her off on that first day!

I close with the verse from June 3rd last year. It gives me strength, just knowing that we clung to it last year, and that it still gives us power today in everything we face.

“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-4

not alone and not afraid --


Sunday, May 31, 2009

Their Dad Would Be So Proud

Loved Ones,

So many times I think to myself how proud Ray would be of our girls. This weekend it was especially so.

The girls ran in "tot trots" and both ran so fast. Nora had her last outdoor soccer game. They were so quiet in church.

I know Ray would have particularly been proud of Nora for a time this weekend that she observed a friend who felt left out and without prompting, went quickly to her aid.

I tell the girls these things as often as I can. As often as it comes to my mind. I know this will teach them more about their dad. The things that he especially cherished. Like kindness.

They've been praying so faithfully for the wife of one of Ray's favorite golfers who was just diagnosed with cancer. They mention her often, and never forget her at night.

This helps me understand God's will for them. The riches of compassion and understanding that they have already from their own experience. The experience from which I prayed they would be spared, but one which will bear fruits in their life that will impact many others.

"Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits - who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion." Psalm 103:1-4

not alone and not afraid --