As a third grader, I invited the new girl to jump rope at recess not knowing that 31 years later, through all the ups and downs of life, we would share a lifelong friendship. Today, that friend turns 40 years old. A day to celebrate 40 years of a wonderful life, of a loving daughter, wife, mother, and friend, a day planned with festivities with family and friends. Instead of being met with greetings of "Happy Birthday," she will be met with hugs of "My Deepest Sympathies" as her father is laid to rest today.
She will need the COURAGE to greet those who have come from near and far to honor this well respected, community businessman, the one she calls Dad. She will need COURAGE to be the support for her mother who lost her spouse of 48 years. She will need COURAGE to overcome the final moments of his life, a life she used her skills as a nurse practitioner to try and save. And she will need COURAGE to remember her birthday as a celebration of her life and not just a reminder at the loss of her father. COURAGE IN CHRIST my dear friend.