Peace be with all of you.
I must start by saying thank you to everyone who has called, written, attended the visitation, and the funeral. Thank you; Thank you; Thank you.
It was apparent to all just how much you all love Ann and our family with an estimated 500+ people at the funeral. It is also apparent how much that God loves us and how touching it is as you care for one another as well.
I have witnessed many beautiful scenes of nature, the birth of my children, my wife on our wedding day... I must say the way that all reached out through the visitation and funeral transformed that time into something sacred, holy and beautiful for me. Odd as that may sound, I felt the Father's love through each hug, kiss, and tear shed with you. He is surrounding us with love the way that only He can. I have learned that when God decides to show you His love that it will be through a broad array of people, nature, sounds, smells, and touch. Without taking a moment to step back to see He is at work, we may write something off as a coincidence -- I try not to if I can.
The funeral itself started with the same song that Ann walked down the isle last year for our 10 year wedding vow renewal -- "How Beautiful". It was an emotional moment for me as I followed the casket into church all the time refecting on the joy I felt last year versus the pain I was feeling now. It was hard -- as the Mass proceeded I was touched by all the ways that many of you contributed to having this be a beautiful goodbye for Ann. I was very touched by the homily from Fr. Craig -- it was spot on. Perhaps I will be able to get the text and post it here for all to read. The music was beautiful (many of Ann's favorites) the readings seemed written specifically for the occassion even though they come straight from scripture and I couldn't have hoped for things to have been any better.
I have had many prayers in these past few weeks -- God is gracious and merciful to us and has answered many of these prayers -- we are so blessed. Now, my family is pursuing a new "normal". We are working through getting setup for school and the logistics that are involved. My parents have been so helpful -- as well as many of you too; thank you. I don't think Zoe, Grace and I really know what "normal" looks like ourselves -- other than that the 3 of us are closer than ever before and we have learned to slow down and enjoy each other. Sure there are struggles each day -- we are working through them; the greiving will certainly be long and at times tough but know that our trust remains in God and He will provide the graces to us that are needed in just the moment that we need them.
To all that wonder what is next, I pray this motivation you feel to help via the Holy Spirit continues and that you seek a way to reach out in love to those around you wherever that may be and share the gifts that you have been given. Do not dispair. God is faithful and good - He loves each of us beyond all measure.
Sounds simple huh? Perhaps, but I believe that is exactly what we are called to do each moment of our day -- I just need not to make it more complicated... How beautiful is the body of Christ...