Christian Life

The Sweetest Words I’ve Ever Heard

This post is dedicated to my step-father Donald Patrick Lafreniere who loved deeply and well. May he rest in peace.

I was manning the coffee table during coffee and donuts after mass, when a gentleman in his early 60’s rushed over to the table.  I could tell he was in a hurry as he held two donuts in one hand while trying to make a cup of coffee with the other.  I asked something along the lines of wasn’t he going to stay and visit with friends?  No, he had to get home.  His wife was sick.  She had dementia.  I tried commiserating with him, but he was having none of it.  He just shrugged his shoulders, and not to be deterred from his goal of returning home to his wife, kept talking to me as he was walking backwards to the parking lot.  He then said the sweetest words I’ve ever heard:

“We take care of each other. That’s what we do. We’ve been doing it all of our lives.”

Now, it’s probably been 10 or 15 years since that encounter and at different times throughout those years his words would come to mind.  They especially came to mind during a phone call with my mother awhile back.  See, my step-father had passed away a month prior and we were all waiting for my mom’s meltdown, which, to my knowledge, hadn’t occurred prior to the phone call.  But there was going to be a meltdown. They had been married 39 years and were still the best of friends when he passed.  Beyond that, it was visible to anyone who had been around them how much he loved my mother.  To have all that disappear in an unexpected moment had to be devastating.

She did have some consolations. There was so much of my step-father in their home that she could still feel his presence and she also believed that he was waiting for her in heaven, so she had that to comfort her.  In addition, she was also incredibly busy with funeral and living arrangements; not to mention the constant telephone calls from friends and family.  I don’t think she had time to truly process it, which may have been a blessing in disguise.

Once everything was taken care of and things begin to settle down was when it all came home.  It was a missed small act of love that caused it.  The weather had begun to turn colder and after getting into bed my mother realized there was no one longer there to pull the blankets up around her, making sure her back was covered, so she wouldn’t get cold.  Something my step-father had done for her every night of every winter they had been together.

“We take care of each other. That’s what we do. We’ve been doing it all of our lives.”

It’s a shame men are thought so little of these days for many love so deeply and so well.  Just look at our Lord Jesus.

Image courtesy of Lotte Meijer @Unsplash



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