A day frozen in my heart and mind. It is set apart unlike any other day of the year. I am transported back to that moment in which God held me steady while I breathed, breathed, breathed with Chuck until the breathing stopped. That exquisite moment of release and loss.
And so it was, my life with Chuck ended on August 20th. Our hopes, our dreams…all gone.
Oh, but it was Chuck Picciuti, the elder, who first said it. We were standing in line at the social security office and I was musing over the end of my writings about the hospital…how I never would have guessed the ending of our love story. With the tenderness only a father has for a beloved daughter, he assured me, “Jan, your life is not over.” It needed to be said. I needed to hear it. Though I did not believe it at the time, those words were a blessing from father to daughter…a promise that is being fulfilled…even as I write this.
“Your life is not over.”
It wasn’t long before I joined a young widow’s group and wrestled with others concerning how…how in the world does one move forward? How can life ever, ever, EVER have sweet peace ever again? How?
I learned…moving forward did not mean leaving Chuck behind. I found that convenient since my DNA had been altered…transformed by the power of marriage. I could not leave Chuck behind because he had been intricately woven into the fabric of…well, of me.
And then God sent Phil. Oh, Phil…a man of honor. Phil who esteems Chuck and the fiercesome creature Chuck helped fashion through fourteen years of marriage. Ah my brave Phil! How grateful I am for your gracious courage.
Together, Phil and I have created a life…in which Chuck is intertwined. He is in our daughters…he is in our marriage…he is in the laughter, the tears…the life.
And today…we honor you.
Chuck, because of you: