Yesterday (20th April 2015) I went to the Plymouth Harbour Retirement community in SRQ to share in conversation, coffee, and prayer with a St. Boniface parishioner "L".
L and her late husband F were regulars at the "early service" at St. Boniface on Siesta Key, Sarasota FL., (the service which I most frequently attend).
They took a wonderful three week trip to France last August. Within a few days of their return to SRQ, F. began to feel unwell.
The un-wellness was serious. F had a ghastly cancer, which led to his death, just six months later.
I attended his memorial service. There I learned that F. was a remarkable man (not just a man with whom I shared greetings each Sunday), but a man who'd had a storied career; who was a devoted and beloved father, who had a curious mind; who was a skilled photographer, hunter, boatsman, and fisherman.
At that service I was saddened that I had not known him better, and that I had not been able to drink from his wisdom.
With all that in mind I made the pastoral "post-death" follow up visit with his widow. L.
It was a wonderful visit. L told me that she and F had been blessed in those six months, because they had been a time in which they could share their grief, before F's death.
Of course she is still grieving, but it is a strangely joyous grief, because she and F had faced and shared their grief together, in those all too brief months between his diagnosis and his death.
F was a great man. L is a great woman whose pathway through grief inspired and blessed me as we met and prayed yesterday.