November 2013

It was snowing, as I got out of my car, at the cemetery.

I wasn’t dressed warmly enough.

I saw Betsy and Ray in the distance, two familiar faces from our college church community, and made my way towards them. They motioned for me to come closer, to share the warmth as we gathered to lay Tony to rest.

Someone commented how beautiful the snow was, swirling around us, as if we were all inside of a snow globe.

I couldn’t believe we were burying another one of the good guys, a dad, a husband, an amazing singer, an extremely intelligent man, and my friend.

We’d met in college, through Koinonia (our Catholic retreat community). We’d been on a planning team together and later Tony, and his wife Alex, sang in the choir on Bob and my wedding day, in September 2000.

How does that happen?

How does a man, in his late 30s, get diagnosed with cancer, and die 10 weeks later?



Rest in peace, Tony.


May 2015

I’d heard the news back in January.

Ray was diagnosed with a rare form of kidney cancer.



We gathered at a Koinonia reunion mass with our families in Park Ridge. Fr. Britto, the priest who married Bob and me, said mass and Sean even got to be an alter server for the first time.

I saw their family from across the church and smiled. I knew Ray was sick, but didn’t know the latest on how he was doing. He looked healthy and seemed to be in good spirits. I’d been following updates on his Caring Bridge page and in a Facebook group, both created to keep his family and friends in the loop.

I ran into Betsy on the way to or from the bathroom with Abby. I introduced her as Mrs. H (using her maiden name, from our college days, not thinking) and she corrected me. I was embarrassed, but she didn’t seem to mind.

Later, before we left, I approached Ray, who was talking with a group of friends, to say hello and give him a hug. I told him that he and his family are in our thoughts and prayers.

I can still picture the smile on Ray’s face and that moment in time.



Things aren’t looking good. I don’t know exactly what that means, but his close friends and family are asking for prayers for peace and comfort.

I am so sad that it has come to this.

Cancer sucks.

It really does.

I get that it happens.

That people die.

I believe in the power of prayer.

And I believe in miracles.

However, I also realize, especially from my own experiences with loss and death, that likely the best we can hope for now is peace and comfort.

It pains me to think of those I know, who are around my age, who are widows and widowers already.

They’re too young.

It’s not fair.



Please send your thoughts and prayers to Ray and Betsy, their 4 children, and all those who love them.

None of us know what day may be our last, so let’s take time to be aware of our blessings, show our loved ones how much we care, and give compassion to those around us who are struggling.

Rest in comfort, Ray.

Peace be with you.

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Molly likes her sibs 2015

This morning I woke up and, while still a bit drowsy, was checking notifications on my phone. One of the first to catch my attention was that “Molly Marie” had liked this picture I’d posted yesterday of Sean and Abby together after arts camp.

Still groggy, I was confused and at the same time loved the idea that their sister, Molly Marie, in Heaven somehow had managed to let us know she likes the pic.

Then I flipped through my mental rolodex, trying to recall who I was connected with that goes by that name on Facebook. And it didn’t take me too long to figure out it was one of our kids’ babysitters, whom we haven’t seen in awhile.

After that reality check, I needed to move on with my day, getting ready to workout and so forth. However, it was nice, if even for a moment, to believe that our baby girl wants us to know how she feels about her siblings.

Do you believe in signs?

Have you experienced anything like this lately?

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Making Room

August 4, 2015

Yesterday I was determined to “catch up” on putting away my laundry (i.e. attack the pile of clean clothes that had accumulated on the floor on my side of our bedroom). I was off to a good start and had gotten about 2/3 of it in their places when I noticed 2 things: #1 – […]

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A Closer Look

June 19, 2015

20 years ago, during the spring semester of my sophomore year of college at the University of Illinois, this is what my dresser looked liked in the room I shared with two friends, living in our Alpha Phi Sorority house. You can see that I like pictures, trinkets, and mementos. I am a very sentimental […]

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Actions Speak Louder

June 18, 2015

It’s not enough. Listening is good. Empathy is admirable. But, we need to do something. I get why it’s important to pick our battles. However, that’s not an excuse to never stand up for what we believe in. Without taking a stand, then they are just words. So what? I wish I had an answer. […]

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What’s Your Alibi?

June 11, 2015

Where were you on Wednesday, January 13, 1999? Seriously. Do you remember? Anything? I was in grad school at the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign, getting my masters in Leisure Studies (for real, that is something one can major and get multiple degrees in). I am pretty sure I was back from winter break, […]

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