Six years ago a dear friend died just before Christmas.
My husband and I had watched him battle cancer (two different kinds) for over two years. It was hard to see him slowly lose the battle. He fought hard and he never lost his courage or his great sense of humor.
His family asked my husband to do the funeral service. It was an extremely hard thing for Paul to do. They had been friends for almost 20 years. In the very beginning of their friendship, I had surgery for breast cancer. The cancer was very advanced and my husband was frightened as his mother had died from breast cancer. Richard came to the hospital and sat with my husband through my surgery and did not leave until I was out of recovery. That cemented their friendship.
That – and their love of golf and corny jokes. Although they claimed they played golf, I think from listening to their tales that they spend more time laughing at each other’s skills than they did actually playing the game.
After my retirement, I often joined the two of them for breakfast. It was such fun to just sit and listen to them as they teased one another and shared stories of their time on the golf course.
While it was hard for my husband to do the funeral service, he was honored that the family said that was what Richard would want. As we arrived at the funeral home, his daughters handed us an envelope. On the outside it said, “Paul and his bride.” That was how Richard always referred to me – “Paul’s bride.” When Paul and Richard met, if I was not present, he would always ask, “How is your bride?” The handwriting on the outside was clearly not Richard’s. So we assumed it was just a card saying thank you for doing the service.
When we opened the card it was a Christmas card. Thinking it was a little strange that his daughters were giving us a Christmas card, we opened it up. My heart skipped a beat as I saw the signature inside the card. It said simply, “Richard.” We immediately recognized his signature. Also enclosed was a picture of him.
His daughters told us although Richard never sent Christmas cards, just before his death he asked them to get him some Christmas cards. He then signed a few and asked them to give them to his special friends at his funeral. He knew he would not be here for Christmas and he wanted us to know what our friendship had meant to him.
This is a special card my husband and I will treasure forever.
Merry Christmas Richard!