BOSTON (CBS) – Boston suffered deeply this year. The Marathon event of 2013 will remain a part of our city’s history forever, the horror and unfairness of it all but more so the heroism, kindness and hope that followed. Later as seasons changed, our beloved hometown team achieved the unlikely (C’mon it was considered impossible) task of winning the 2013 World Series. By no means do I equate the impact of these two events. The loss of lives, health, relationships and livelihoods obviously matters so much more. But enjoying our Fenway Park comeback was not just for baseball purists to gloat over; it was a crucial reminder that despite some really dark days, happier times follow. When it comes to the endless cycle of losses and wins in life, all of us are or will someday be seasoned veterans. We don’t have much of a choice do we?
This has been a challenging year for my family. We suffered our own pain with the passing of my bride, my life partner for over three decades. Wendy Rich died August 11 from the effects of cancer, a disease she held at bay for many years. Ultimately the effects wore her down. But cancer never robbed her of her joie de vivre, her super nova love for family, friends, and her career as a teacher, her dignity, poise, humor and humility. We suffered a great loss, but I will never grant cancer a claim in the win column. Like so many, she was not the cancer and never let it rule her life.
So now I am experiencing the whirlwind of change that happens when one says goodbye too soon to a spouse. Thankfully, the anger and bitterness that were present several months back are now no longer traveling companions. Wendy taught me much about gratitude, about appreciating the things about people that matter most. Still, it is the toughest transition I’ve ever had to make in my adult years. If you don’t understand completely that’s ok. Someday you likely will. We all do.
Cycles…Losses and wins. Like our beloved city, the Rich family recently celebrated our own world championship of sorts—the wedding of my precious daughter Lindsay to David, a terrific young man I am thrilled to welcome as a son. The wedding, much of it planned before Wendy transitioned, was never in doubt. She made me swear that the big day go on as planned and on time. Her hope was to be healthy enough to attend. Sadly, that did not happen. During her sickest days when we all knew that time was in short supply, she remained confident that everything would work out and that the day would live up to expectations. Her courage and optimism inspired us all. To suggest that she was at the wedding ‘in spirit’ is an understatement of the first order. She shared in every aspect of that day and every day for me.
I took on the task of helping my daughter and her fiancé make November 16, 2013 the day of their dreams. And I must say we pulled it off! It was fairy tale perfect from beginning to end. This is one proud dad.
If I’ve learned anything during the last few years taking care of Wendy, it’s that despite our best efforts, no one can prevent the inevitable or escape the pain. But we can always strive for more victories. We can bolster the win column along if you will, by helping others and remembering that nothing ever defeats love, compassion or the will to cross the finish line. For proof look no further than a year in which “Boston Strong” became our mantra, when the Red Sox grew beards and celebrated in October on duck boats, and when Lindsay Rich was married at the storybook wedding of her dreams.
This Thanksgiving season, I’m thankful for those wins after losses. And I pray that for all of us, there are many more wins to come.