This is a sad story – with a sweet and poignant twist.
As most of us slept peacefully on Tuesday night, Jon Coelho of Danbury, Connecticut, passed away from cardiac arrest, a condition attributed to the coronavirus.
He was just 32 years-old and left behind his wife, Katie, and 2 small children.
There’s a common saying that death always comes like a thief in the night, and never more so than when a younger person unexpectedly meets the end of their earthly life.
From what I’ve read in press reports, Jon’s wife was understandably stunned and shaken. In her grief, she grabbed her husband’s phone out of a desire to see and preserve his photos saved there.
Katie saw the photos, but she also found something else – a note Jon had written her but not sent.
“I love you guys with all my heart and you’ve given me the best life I could have ever asked for,” Jon wrote. “I am so lucky it makes me so proud to be your husband and the father to Braedyn and Penny.”
“Katie you are the most beautiful caring nurturing person I’ve ever met. You are truly one of a kind…make sure you live life with happiness and that same passion that made me fall in love with you. Seeing you be the best mom to the kids is the greatest thing I’ve ever experienced.”
What a gift – from the grave.
It’s got me thinking. If I had just passed from this life to the next, what would my wife, Jean, find on my phone? Only a litany of work exchanges – or lots of loving texts and notes between the 2 of us, as well as between me and our boys?
It may sound pretty morbid to write a “last letter” to your spouse, but have you ever considered doing so? If you did, what would you say?
You might remember Randy Pausch, the computer science professor from Carnegie Mellon University who was diagnosed with terminal cancer and whose “last lecture” to his class became an internet sensation. The lecture was turned into a bestselling book. He died at the age of 48 just months after the title was published.
“The key question to keep asking,” he shared with his students, “is are you spending your time on the right things? Because time is all you have.”
Does the content of your phone reflect your priorities? Even more importantly, does your life?
The coronavirus pandemic has been called by some the “big pause” – not for everybody, of course – but for many. If you have some extra time, why not spend some of it praying and pondering how the Lord wants you to spend the rest of your time here on earth.
If you do, no matter how much time you have left, it will be time well spent.
Jim Daly with Paul Batura
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