Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Five Years

Loved Ones,

Today is the five year anniversary of Ray's death.

I've been reflecting on Ray so much.  I am always amazed by Ray's attitude during his illness.  When Ray was diagnosed with cancer, with a few exceptions, he consistently had the worst possible case scenarios.  Yet he endured all that without complaint.  Not without sadness.  But without complaint.  I admire this so much -- such a testimony to his faith and spirit that he could bear this heavy load.

We gathered at mass Sunday with Ray's family and mine in Ray's honor.  Our reading talked about how it wasn't enough for Christ to be a servant.  He was to be a light for the nations.

I feel that way with Ray.  He was God's servant, but that wasn't enough.  His example, his light, his witness was to be a story for others.  A guiding light.  Something to look up to.

I feel that way about him.  Whenever I think to complain I think of him and I try desperately not to do it.   Not that Ray was super human!!  But he was good.  He was good like that even before he was sick and after watching him when he was sick, I just feel like to honor his memory, how can I complain?

I have already been given so much!  Five more years!  Five more years than Ray!  Each hour, each day, each week with my girls a blessing to me and something I wish he could have experienced.  I know he must savor this from heaven!  But here.  To hug these girls here.  To see these moments here.

I know so many of you are thinking of him because you're calling me or emailing me.

When the girls were leaving that last time, I asked Ray if he had anything else to say to them and he said, "Remember me."

Today and every day we remember you Ray.  We remember your light.  We remember your uncomplaining spirit.  We remember your unshakable faith.

In your honor -- we won't complain. We will live each day like everything could change tomorrow -- because of you - we know it can.

We will do our best to work our hardest for the things that have the most value.  Our faith.  Our family.  The causes and cases that strengthen others and pass on love, kindness and value.

And Ray.  We will do our best to rid the world of cancer.  To spare others from what you endured. Another young friend of ours was recently lost to cancer and his father made this observation at his funeral.  He contrasted the 58,000 Americans that were lost through Vietnam to the over 600,000 Americans we lose each year to cancer -- asking why we are not protesting in the streets.  Preach it Mr. Battle.  Over the years we have done a lot of advocacy for our fellow cancer patients and families.  Each year we hope that advocacy turns into actual progress for patients.  I will say this, we will not stop until it does.

And so.  A memory.  A rallying cry.  An example for the ages.

Ray, we miss you.  We remember you.  We will not stop.  And we will savor each day, loving the blessing of life, wishing you were here to savor with us.

not alone and not afraid -


God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam  and the mountains quake with their surging.  There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.  God is within her, she will not fall;  God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;   he lifts his voice, the earth melts.  The Lord Almighty is with us;  the God of Jacob is our fortress.  Psalm 46:1-7