Closing Doors

Kate is dying today.

I didn't have a chance to know her nearly as well as I wanted to. I didn't meet Kate until near the end of her fight with lung cancer, but I knew right away we would be friends.

She is funny and a bit acerbic. I like that in a friend.

She loves animals. In fact, I have been told that she was largely responsible for the final decision to hire a dear friend of mine as her new rector. She signed on because he enthusiastically supported what, to her, was one of the most important services in the parish--the Blessing of the Animals. She was too sick to attend when he presided over that service this year, but we all felt her presence.

Most of all, I love the way that she and her husband, Peter, love each other. Theirs is the kind of romantic story that gets me every time. They knew each other for 30 years before they finally married. Their lives had touched at various points, but circumstances had never allowed them to be together. They had been married only briefly when Kate was diagnosed, and Peter has taken care of her in a way that shows how much he cherishes her.

The door is closing on Kate's life on this earth today. I grieve for Peter, who has demonstrated what it means to live into "for better or sickness and in health."

And I grieve for the friendship that never had a chance to blossom. I'm not sure why Kate touched me so deeply, so quickly. But she did, and I am grateful for our very brief acquaintance.

Almighty God, our Father in heaven, before whom live all who die in the Lord: Receive our sister, Kate, into the courts of your heavenly dwelling place. Let her heart and soul now ring out in joy to you, O Lord, the living God, and the God of those who live. This we ask through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Almighty God, look with pity upon the sorrows of your servant, Peter, for whom we pray. Remember him, Lord, in mercy; nourish him with patience; comfort him with a sense of your goodness; lift up your countenance upon him; and give him peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord.