Fortresses of courage in a wilderness of mourning

By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director, Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation

As I write these words, I know of two women who are accompanying loved ones on their final journeys. One is a wife, tending to her dying husband. The other is a daughter, spending the remaining precious moments with her ailing father.

At such times, the crush of emotions can be overwhelming. The torrent of sadness pouring over one’s soul. The deep longing for opportunities missed. The chilling realization that goodbye will come all too soon.

These women are fortresses of courage in the face of death. They deal with its stinging reality every day, yet they manage to share smiles with friends and co-workers who desperately wish they could relieve them of their current pain.

Yet, at such times, there is also a special grace that shines through the wilderness of mourning. It is the realization of the inherent, unmistakable value of life–that life, in all its complexity, is worth living. There can be gratitude for the celebrations in days past…thankfulness for the memories shared.

These two women are witnesses to their loved ones’ lives. They are the cheering section, even in those final, difficult moments when eternity beckons. They are the caregivers who give their beloved the wings to fly back home to God.

While it is painfully hard to serve as a bystander in such circumstances, it is also ennobling. For in living life to the fullest, these unrepeatable human beings are teaching us all how to live. And they are sharing the lesson with us that each life is to be treasured and protected until the point of natural death.