Thursday, October 13, 2016

Happy 45th Ray!

Loved Ones,

Happy Birthday Ray!

Today caught me by surprise. It’s been so long that Ray’s been gone that I don’t expect a strongly emotional reaction from myself. The power of time I think.

I always want to honor Ray and mark the day in a special way so I went to my computer to find a picture to post for his birthday. I was looking through all my computer files, all named and arranged by Ray, and came upon the file he had for pictures of himself with the girls.

Love Without End.

And just like that, it broke my heart. 

At the beginning with the grief, my grief was not just for myself and the girls and our loss of Ray. It was for Ray’s loss of us. The pain of that was so great and so deep for him and it was all there in “Love Without End.”

These days my emotional connection to Ray's pain is less. I feel his pain hardly at all. But looking at that file, it was all there. His deep grief that he just wanted to live and be with his girls. That he wanted them to remember him. That he loved them so much.

And yet. He was right that his love was a love without end. 

Just last weekend Nora was battling a tough fight on the soccer field. Her challenge, not just to play well, but to earn her coach’s trust.

One of the hard things about Ray not being here with us on earth is that sometimes when one of my kids needs me, so does the other.

It was Lucy’s turn for me to watch her game, not Nora so she went alone. When it came time for her game to start, though she was in a different city, Maggie, Lucy and I in our car prayed hard for Nora.
I asked her to feel us by her side and her dad too. I asked for all the help that he could give her and that in the end, that when she succeeded, all the glory would go to God.

I got a text a few minutes after Nora got on the field, that she had scored a goal.

Prayer answered.

I was not surprised. I call on Ray sometimes when the strength of my mothering is just not enough. I don’t know what things are like in heaven but I am never disappointed and the reliability and power often brings me to tears.

In that spirit, I will paste the lyrics that I can still hear Ray and the girls singing.

“Let me tell you a secret about a father's love
A secret that my daddy said was just between us
He said daddies don't just love their children every now and then
It's a love without end, Amen, it's a love without end, Amen.”
not alone and not afraid –


“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you” Mathew 6:28-30

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Seven Years

Loved Ones,

January 21 is the seven year anniversary of Ray's death. Or as Lucy and I prefer to put it, the seven year anniversary of his entrance to heaven.

It is impossible to believe that seven years have gone by. Some of those years were so rough! I am so grateful for the steadfast love of our family and friends.

Ray's life was so well lived! Daily we reflect on his gifts. His humor! His joy! His friendship! His strength and faith. When teaching religion I rely on his example so often. And on the faith lessons of that time, always.

I am so honored to be able to be a reflection of his legacy. The Ray Fitzgerald lectureship so honors his faith. Our stomach cancer advocacy, his fight. It is a blessing to all of us to be able to have these opportunities where he and his story just live on and continue to move and bless so many.

I cannot possibly express his impact on me. And the impact of our faith on our lives now.

Of all the meaningful messages during the past seven years, the idea that we are carrying the burden that is "well fitting" stays with me. That God has given each of us the burden that only we can bear. Far more, that this burden is our gift. Our message for the world.

I pray always for the wisdom and grace to teach the lessons God has placed on our hearts for us to teach. To give the gifts the world waits for.

Ray. Thanks for your example of this lesson. We love you and you are always always in our hearts.

not alone and not afraid -


The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23