Today my friend Juana will be celebrating her husband's life at a funeral Mass in Spain. She lost him unexpectedly last week, just 20 days after she was able to join him there, eager to start the next phase of their lives after living two years with the Atlantic Ocean between them.
It's some consolation to her to know his death brought life to others... she says "A man of his age has his liver. A boy of twenty-one on dialysis - his kidney. Another kidney to a another boy of 30 and A 17-year-old boy has recovered his sight thanks to Pepe's cornea." But still, my heart breaks for her.
I can't remember how or when I discovered Juana's blog, Between USA and Spain, but even though Juana and I have never physically met, we clicked and became fast friends.
She started her blog to chronicle the days until she and Pepe could be together again. He was starting a job in Spain; she was staying in Atlanta until her youngest daughter graduated from college, then she would join him.
Through her blog and photographs, Juana introduced us to her entertaining, (crazy!), loving family... she shared with us the pain of living apart from the man she loved... she took us with her to visit him in Spain.
Through her words I got to know Pepe for the wonderful husband, father, grandfather, and friend he was. I could see his sense of humor and his kindness. I could see the joy they felt together, felt their strong love, and helped her count down the days until the airplane took her across the ocean to be with him again for more than just a visit.
Juana, I can't be there physically to support you today, but I'm following Jen's lead and sending you some Texas Hill Country wildflowers. Not as pretty as Jen's Costa Rica beauties, but as I'm watching them pop up along the roadside again here, they make me think of you and Pepe, and the many seasons of life.
With the flowers comes much love, as well as prayers for strength and peace, patience and comfort.
"My heart trusts in the Lord, and I am helped." ~ Psalm 28:7