Monday, November 21, 2011

In The Greek Tradition


By Kate Collins

Yesterday we honored the anniversary of my husband’s death in the way his big Greek family has always honored their loved ones, with a memorial dinner.  It took some doing, as he had family scattered from one side of the country to the other, even across the sea, but we finally found a date that worked.

What we honored, though, was not his death, but his life -- and what a full life he’d led. He’d worked in his family’s grocery store throughout his childhood, served his country, gone to law school on the GI Bill, raised a family, travelled the globe, and did I mention married me? 

It was a second marriage for both of us, so we brought baggage into it that had to be worked through. That wasn’t always easy, but our deep respect and admiration for each other, along with our love, kept us plugging away at it until we acquired the right tools. And then, what happiness! Look at the joy on our faces in the photo of us in Athens.

However, as painful as it has been, I’ve had to keep turning my head forward instead of dwelling on our golden years together. It’s difficult to not wish he was here and tough to imagine a future without him. But what I’ve learned is that his plan here was fulfilled and my plan is still in progress. I truly believe God has been working hard on my behalf my whole life, blessing me with loving parents and beautiful children, bringing my wonderful Greek to me, giving me the skills and ambition to write books, and much more -- and that He’s not done with me yet.

Everyone experiences painful losses, whether a parent, a child, a sibling, a spouse, or a pet. It can bring our lives to a dead stop. The only remedy is to keep moving forward and trust that there is a plan for us, and what we are experiencing gives us the tools to accomplish it.

My husband didn’t have an easy life growing up, but he never let that deter him. Everything that happened to him made him a more experienced lawyer, a more caring father, and a more generous, loving spouse. What a legacy!   

I heard this tip: Write down three things you want people to say about you when you’re gone, and you’ll work harder toward achieving them. So what are the three most important things you want people to say about you?