By everything that seems holy and logical I should be one of the happiest individuals in the world, because tomorrow I will celebrate my 80th birthday. Unfortunately, events of the past few weeks have brought a sorrow that is heart felt and has cast a long shadow over this utterly beautiful autumn season.
Less than two months ago my dear cousin Patty (a non-smoker and teetotaler) passed away at age 67 after bravely fighting her six month battle with lung and liver cancer. Her passing was anticipated considering her illness, and it undoubtedly brought her a blessed relief from what was a very difficult period. Her family continues to struggle with her passing given her vitality, good humor, and loving and caring way prior to her illness.
Less than three weeks later the family again gathered when Patty’s mother, my aunt, passed away at age 95 following many years in a retirement home and failing health. Sad as that was we were happy that she enjoyed a long life with her large loving extended family.
No sooner did I begin to continue with daily life and word arrived earlier this week that a close friend and business associate had been stricken with a severe stroke. Within days my 82 year old pal Harry passed from this earthly place to his eternal rest. Today my Tuesday luncheon group (aka Pathetic Golf League or PGL) met sadly and saluted his empty chair remembering that he had broken bread with us just two short weeks ago.
Harry was one of those rare individuals who was liked by one and all and had a marvelous sense of humor with a twinkle in his eyes that will be long remembered. In his many years in the broadcasting business he achieved heights that few attain and he impacted the lives of hundreds of his young students at Notre Dame toward successful careers in the communications field that serves millions across the country today.
So, within a short span I lost two close relatives and one dear friend. Their passing has affected me significantly, and I have said quietly to myself in their memory that wonderful Irish Blessing that says:
May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields and,
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.
Why does it seem that we lose those close to us in 3s?