As many of you know, we were not even one full month into 2023 when my father passed away. While his health had been failing, his death was unexpected. The night he died, I helped my mom put him to bed, kissed him good-night, and totally expected to see him the next time I visited their house.
With the death of my dad, I lost not only my father, but my spiritual director, my encourager, and my role model.
“The Lord gives and the Lord takes away; blessed be the Lord!” (Job 1:21b)
Looking back over my life, I can truly say that God, when He does “take away,” never leaves us empty. He always fills us with good things.
My good God does not want me to sit in my sorrow. So, I take up my laptop and look back on 2023 at all the great things the Almighty has done for me this year.
First and foremost, I became a grandmother this year. My oldest son and daughter-in-law blessed me with a granddaughter – Zipporah Elizabeth! She is perfect! Of course, I don’t have to stay awake until she finally falls asleep at 1:00 AM. Been there, done that; don’t have to do it anymore. Yea, I’m loving this Gigi gig!
My family continues to grow. Two of my children got engaged this year! So, 2024 will bring us one wedding, and 2025 will see us celebrating again! When one’s children fall in love with good Catholic Christians, mama’s heart bursts with happiness.
I have had a child move out on her own to be closer to her workplace. It is a cute little apartment in a nice part of town. I miss her, but she comes home often enough and calls almost every day. We raise them to fly on their own, and she is.
Speaking of flying, my beautician daughter opened her own salon this year – a bold move for a young lady. Yet, it is paying off. She is quite talented, and her clients love her. Thus, her new business is very successful. I am proud of her courage and trust in the Lord.
My two college students are doing very well academically, even though they both have had demanding classes. My daughter even got a B in calculus! And my son secured a scholarship that is paying for his last two years of school in exchange for working for the government for three years after graduation. Sounds like a win/win.
My youngest child joined his twin sisters at the high school. I don’t know if he likes it, but he is tolerating it and doing well academically. He hopes to play baseball for the school team come spring. The twins played field hockey again this year; their team went undefeated in their regular season, allowing only one goal to be scored against them! Like most parents of athletes, I enjoy watching my children having fun on the field, being successful in their sport and learning valuable life-lessons.
Speaking of fun, my hubby was blessed with a weekend in Florida in August to play golf, draft his fantasy football team, and apparently swim with hammerhead sharks. Getting away with the guys is something that he hasn’t been able to do this millennium!
I also got away for a couple days. I went to Irondale, AL to be on EWTN’s show At Home with Jim and Joy. I always love having an opportunity to talk about my book Saintly Moms and share the inspirational stories of these holy women, but to do it on a global Catholic network…that is something I could only dream about. I have no doubt that my father, given his great love for EWTN, had something to do with it.
A grandbaby, two engagements, a nice apartment, a new and successful business, scholarships, good grades, time away, a TV interview – all gifts from our Good God. All sent to my family since my father’s death. Dad is truly interceding for us!
So, while my father is not here physically and I miss our talks terribly, he is still with me. I know, through the Church’s teaching on the communion of saints, that when I talk to him, Dad can, indeed, hear me.
You see, God shares so much with us. Everything we have is a gift from Him. That generosity does not end in Heaven. God shares some of His omnipotence with the holy souls. Enough that they can pray for us while before His very throne.
My father, even in eternity, continues to pray and provide for me. From Heaven, Dad watches over me.
I know I will see my father again. Afterall, that’s the real reason for Christmas and the glorious gift of Easter. Jesus came as a helpless baby to help us get to heaven. He lived to die for us. And by His death, Death is ultimately defeated. We need only to accept the graces to believe and follow Jesus.
My dad did this faithfully in life, leaving us a blessed legacy. Thanks, Dad! May all glory be to God the Father, Son, and Spirit!
My mom with most of her grandchildren, her great-granddaughter, great-niece and nephew, and a future grandson-in-law on Christmas. God is good - all the time.