A died almost three years ago. She had skin cancer. She was married to our priest, O.
J died 16 months ago. He had stomach cancer. He attended a different Episcopal church but his wife's godfather was our priest's former boss.
While sick with cancer, J needed people to stay with him during the day while M was at work. While spending a day with him, J asked me to tell him about O. He wasn't terribly interested in A's illness but rather in how O was coping without his wife, the mother of his children, his best friend. Without saying it, it was clear he was asking because he knew he wouldn't get better and wanted some sort of reassurance that his wife M would be okay.
Several weeks after J's funeral there was an email exchange with M offering to tell her about "something that J said when I was sitting with him once". M never took me up on it. Until tonight.
In making plans for her daughter to stay with us for the weekend while she's away, M added a P.S. to her email suggesting that we get together for coffee and that she was ready to hear what J told me. How does one tell a friend that her husband, while dying of cancer, was more concerned about her well-being than his own? Even the thought of telling her makes tears roll down my cheeks.
That's the kind of love we all hope to have. Not that someone will love us that much, but that we are lucky enough to find someone to love. Unselfish, undying love. J was a lucky man indeed.
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