On the way in with my three kids to school this morning, I was telling my 13-year old daughter how much I love her and how much mommy loves her. After all that has happened this past week since the passing of the love of my life, Maureen, it really should have come as no surprise to me that the Beatles, All You Need is Love, would come on the radio. I said to Kyla, “mommy is still talking to us.” Kyla responded, “daddy, she is never going to stop.”
And, you know, she is right. Love simply doesn’t run out, ever. During the service this past Saturday for my sweetie, several of her friends and family spoke in remembrance. From Suzanne, one of her younger sisters, to Susie, her life-long friend and one of my daughters’ godmother, to Francis and Martine, her Belgian cousins, to Christianne, her friend from her junior year abroad in Strasbourg, France, and another of our daughters’ godmother, the love that I was privileged to share as Maureen’s husband for over 24 years was apparent in all their words. As Susie noted in a conversation this past week after she returned home, that is the great thing about love. Each of us, across distance, space and time, could feel the abundant love Maureen shared with all of us… and there is still plenty to go around!!
When you have felt love, you know it. You also know how deep the love is by how big the tears are. We’ve shed some big tears, but they aren’t tears of just sadness. They are tears of abundant joy, just like the love we shared, and all who knew Maureen, shared. I told my kids yesterday on the way in to school that “remembering” and “looking back” are not the same thing. You can not look back and look forward at the same time. However, you can look forward and remember at the same time. That is what Maureen would want from not only us, her immediate family, but all who love her. For the first time, she can now be with all of us at the same time. I miss having my Maureen by my side not just as I sleep at night but throughout every act of my day. However, yesterday, while picking up the death certificates at the funeral home, I came to understand that Maureen’s peaceful passing in her sleep was her ultimate act of love.
As I looked at one of the reasons for death, it read cario-pulmonary, not cardio-pulmonary. I thought well now that is a silly typo, dropping the D like that. With kids that are taking Latin at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School, where we held Maureen’s celebration of life, I decided to do a quick search of the word “cario” on our computer, and lo and behold, the word cario means caring, dear. Maureen’s heart didn’t stop; it was actually simply beating in a new way. It was now beating with love, with care, with God. She loved us so much that she gave us, her family, the ultimate gift, her peace. In the words of John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” Maureen has made us fully aware of God’s peace.
Taylor, Kyla Katelyn and I miss mommy, as I know all who know her do. However, we are looking forward and remembering. I know this is what Maureen would want from not just us but all of her family and friends. I say this for a reason. After we returned home from the Upper School chapel at St. Andrew’s on Saturday, I decided to put up all the photo boards of her life around our living room. Each morning, after I make my cup of coffee and her tumbler of tea, I sit on the couch and look around. On one of the boards is a photo of Maureen in New Orleans from our recent trip there in February of this year. It was the same post where I had taken a photo of her 25 years ago to the weekend, when she and I had visited this same city during our courtship. New Orleans being New Orleans, the words, “laissez les bon temps rouler,” came into my mind. Later that same day, on Sunday afternoon, walking out of the resort and spa where my parents were staying, my son and I suddenly heard another of my favorite songs over the resort sound system from the Cars, “let the good times roll.”
Whether it is in French or English, this is Maureen’s message to all of us… let the good times roll, look forward, not back, and ultimately, all we need is love.