Friday, January 21, 2011

2nd Anniversary

Loved Ones,

As most of you know, today marks the 2nd Anniversary of Ray's death. We will be spending the day with family, both mine and Ray's, celebrating Ray's life. And I am glad for the occasion to celebrate him. I hope to make this anniversary this year and every year more about his life than his death. Last year I gave our families green crosses to commemorate Ray, this year, "remembrance" angels. I like marking the day with something, and having something to think of Ray with. I wished though that I could do something for Ray -- some gift to him. It is always hard to figure out what that would be -- something for his grave, something in my heart, something to carry his memory. One of the things I like about this day is the chance to spend time talking about Ray, much more than about his fighting cancer, but about him and who he was. There are so many people who miss him, and so many who will never know him. To talk about him brings him a little closer. And so I thought that my gift to him today would be to talk about him.

So. Today I am thankful to my sweetheart Ray for Maggie's twinkle in her eye. It is the same one that her father had. It is a joy to see and recognize. And I am so glad for his winks. All three of those girls have them! They wink at me and I see him! I am thankful that he taught me how to cherish family, and I am thankful for the family he gave me. I am thankful that he taught me about the Catholic faith; he was a living testament to it. I am thankful that he taught me and the girls how to be Southside Irish, to love the Sox and hate the Cubs, to listen to the Saw Doctors, and eat Irish brown bread. I am glad that he told me that Nora wouldn't have a heart attack riding a roller coaster, and that he rode one with her. I am thankful for White Lake! I am thankful for every memory he made with those little girls, jumping off rafts, riding double bike, watching Incredibles and Animal Planet. I am so glad he was good at sports, I think of him when I watch those girls play, that easy talent! I am so glad for his lightness, his humor, his good nature! I pray that those qualities are imprinted on the souls of those little girls! I am thankful that he told me, probably far too often, not to complain. I am thankful for his friendship and for sharing politics with him. What fun that was! I am thankful for how much he loved our friends and for the friends we had together. Most, I am thankful for the mark that he made on my life, the minutes we had together, the person that I was with him and am still because of him.

Our tenth wedding anniversary was earlier this month and the girls and I watched our wedding video. Ray had played a tiny secret joke on me in the ceremony and he was so entertained by it. It was so sweet to see and to see him savoring this and many other moments.

When I think of Ray that's what I think of: JOY. LOVE. FAITH. HAPPINESS.

I know my husband has all those things now. And I know he wishes them for us too.

I pray that on this day we will feel his presence even as we reflect on his absence. And that we will be comforted and inspired by the mark he has made on our lives.

not alone and not afraid --


"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, becasue the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor... to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion-- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. Isaiah 61:1-3


Mo Tracy said...

You are an amazing woman, and I am so lucky to know you...and to have known Ray!

dbirkey said...

Thank you for this post, Kristin. I am reflecting on Ray today, too, and thinking how very much I missed him at our most recent Wolgemuth family gathering. There was something so unique and one-of-a-kind about Ray. He not only 'fit' in our family but he helped our family to 'fit' better all the way around! We are less without him but we are more because we had him for a time. I DO think of him as being nearly always smiling and happy while relishing the role of serving and giving and focusing the spotlight on others. He was a great person to converse with . . . interested and a great listener AND so well read, knowledgable and articulate. Very smart but never leading with his intelligence . . . aways with his heart. I loved observing how very much he loved you and his girls. He was a model husband and daddy. I'm sad that our new little Kellen John will never know his Uncle Ray (until heaven!). I'm guessing Ray is pleased that he has an Irish name! I pray that equal to the loss and grief you feel, Christ will bless all four of you with an equal measure of grace and peace and joy and hope. I love you.

Laura Birkey said...

This is beautiful Kristin. What a gift to Ray...generations to come can celebrate Ray through your diligence in writing and talking about him. Im praising God for his life along with you today!

Lydia Conrad said...

Hello Kristin:
Thinking of Ray and you and the girls on this second anniversary of his passing.
I can't tell you how many times I think of Ray and of you fabulous gals that he loved so much!
How lucky am I that my best friend Terri -- then head of the IL Washington office -- would present the opportunity for me to meet her staffer Ray when I was working at NGA? He and I hit it off from the start but, really, who didn't like Ray the minute that he/she met him? He radiated good cheer and warmth. But he could be a rascal, too -- who was the first person to let me know that my beloved Raffy Palmeiro had tested positive for steroids? Ray just couldn't resist bursting my bubble but he did it in such a way that somehow made me laugh rather than want to throttle him! :-)
I so wish Ray were still here to razz me about my Cubs or share one of his hilarious stories. I'm so glad I was able to spend that afternoon with him when I came up to Chicago in the days that he was fighting the cancer. He was a boon companion during the good times but he was even more admirable when times were tough. What an incredible person he was!
My life is so much better for having spent time with Ray. And it's clear that he is living on in the hearts of everyone else who he met.
Blessings for all the Fitzgerald gals!

Melissa said...

So often I think of you, the girls and Ray. Today as I remembered this anniversary, I was blessed to read your post. We will never know what it is for you and the girls to continue without Ray here. I continue to ask God to give you strength beyond measure to face each moment. So much of our life in this broken world makes no sense unless we hold onto our Lord. As I remembered Ray today I thought of how his love for his girls was so deep that he'd watch all the lovely princesses movies they so adore and I remembered watching with him when I visited . So grateful Ray lives on in each of you.

amywb said...

What an amazing tribute, my friend. I love remembering Ray along with you. He was and is incredible, beautiful. And so are you. xo

Ann Batlle said...

What a lovely tribute to your Ray. I'm so glad you found each other in this life, that your love brought those three gorgeous girls into this world, and that God continues to show you his plan for you, amidst all the hard and trying days. What a privilege to know you and to have known Ray. His light shines so brightly still.