Greetings to all from the Eolia Christian Community Outreach Center.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” II Timothy 4:7
I have missed several weeks of writing my column because as many of you know, Tony, the love of my life, passed away June 9.
I was humbled and truly touched by the outpouring of support from the people we’ve come to know and love through the years. Our family is truly grateful for the kindness shown to us during such a heartbreaking time in our life.
Tony made the choice to die at the home which he built with his own hands, with family and friends by his side. I’ll never forget the dear friends who quietly kept vigil with us in a dimly lit room, where the only sound heard was Tony’s irregular breathing and the ticking of the clock.
While sitting by his side, holding his hand and etching every feature of his dear face in my mind, I traveled back in time to the year 1968 when I was first introduced to Tony by his brother Alfred who was married to my niece. Tony had been living with family in Chicago and had just recently moved back to the mountains. I remember the first thing I noticed about him was a shock of dark, curly hair and flashing white teeth, in spite of the fact I later learned, he chewed a pack of Redman a day.
A few days later when I was sitting on the front porch in the swing, Tony pulled up sporting a blue and white Chevy pickup. He had recently gotten a job with Scotia Coal Company and getting a few paydays ahead, he did what most miners do. He bought himself a new truck. With a twinkle in his eye and flashing that brilliant smile he asked, “Wanna go for a ride?”
Minutes later I found myself sailing out of Frank’s Creek in a blue and white Chevy, the windows down, listening to Loretta Lynn belt out her latest hit song “Don’t Come Home A Drinkin’ With Lovin’ on your Mind.”
Forty-two years later, June 9, in the early twilight hours, as my mind drifts over the years we’ve shared together — all I can say is, what a ride it has been. I not only lost a husband, I lost my best friend. But every night before going to bed I’m comforted by this thought. He’s only a heartbeat away.
With that said, I’ll leave you with this quote from Ruth Graham. “A good marriage is the union of two forgivers.”