I’m in the business of celebrating life~ baptisms of new babies, marriage, and the celebration of a life that has ended.
I get the phone calls from distraught people who need help. They need an a priest, they need prayer, they need a calm, compassionate ear. That’s my job- to lend an ear, to send the priest, and to plan the details of the funeral.
I like what I do most days. It’s actually one of the best parts of my job, being able to provide comfort and to listen to the needs and desires of a family. To plan a celebration of their loved one’s life.
Today I got one of those phone calls. The wife broke down on the phone. Her husband, in the hospital to receive cancer treatments, got an infection that left his unprotected body ravaged. His condition deteriorated rapidly from Christmas Eve until today. She told me tearfully, the decision was reached to stop all efforts to sustain his life.
When I got the news late this afternoon, that her husband had slipped away, I was in the middle of the grocery store, holding a box of fried chicken. Lured by the enticing smell, and weary at the end of the day, I had decided to pick up dinner rather than go home and heat up leftovers. As I stood holding the chicken I looked around the store. People continued with their shopping, busy with their own lives, unaware that another soul had left the earth.
I wanted my husband. I wanted to feel his arms around me, to feel his warmth, and to reassure myself that his heart still beat strong.
Maybe it’s hitting middle age. Maybe it’s the job. Maybe it’s the knowledge that time is slipping faster and faster, but I have a new appreciation for the beauty of my life. Seize everyday and make it special.