Times together as a family are precious. You never know when they might be cut short by many otherwise anticipated years. It was one year ago that we sat around our Thanksgiving table with our son Patrick for what would be our last holiday together.
Patrick, always fun-loving, could take a serious moment and make it into something zany, funny, and most of all memorable! He never met a stranger; and no one was left the same after being with him.
We had no idea that, on this occasion, his crazy antics would subside and words from his mouth to all of the adults sitting around the table would touch our hearts so deeply.
First, we began sharing as each of us told who or what we were thankful for ~ no doubt, the main focus of our expressed love was Patrick. One after another opened their hearts in ways that were precious and sincere; tears came without apology.
Patrick was the last around the table to speak of things he was thankful for. That’s when he spoke to each of us in personal ways of his gratitude for our love. His heart laid bare before us; he left us speechless. He knew the end was near.
What do you do with memories like these? There are two places to go with them: to the deep, dark hole of despair that this time is no more…OR, to the place in the heart that’s overflowing with gratitude for what you did have.
It’s not only our choice, but it’s Patrick’s wish that we c.e.l.e.b.r.a.t.e our love for our Lord and for one another while it is still day. Among a few of his last words to us were these, and I share them as admonishment to us all: “Love one another. Forgive one another; they didn’t mean to hurt you–they didn’t mean it. His love never changes. Love you; bye! Always and forever will I love you…don’t forget…always and forever!” For seven remaining hours of his life, he gave the Lord and us his best. He was my hero.
“Love never gives up. Loves cares more for others than for self. Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut, doesn’t have a swelled head, doesn’t force itself on others, isn’t always ‘me first,’ doesn’t fly off the handle, doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, doesn’t revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, puts up with anything, always looks for the best, never looks back, but keeps going to the end.” [I Corinthians 13:3-7 Message]