Recently I was touched by the stories of two people who lived particularly rich lives. Who and why they were able to live such lives is a testimony to them but also a testimony of their understanding of sharing the care.
Neither one of these people knew one another. One was 92 and the other was only 10 when the angel of death swept them away to their eternal home. One lived in a suburb of Chicago and the other in Connecticut and yet their lives intersected in an aspect that I believe was the formula that raised their lives to the category of “rich.”
Bennie, as she was known to her family and friends, had an Irish wit that captivated all who knew her. At 92 she never missed a beat in reaching out to others which was a continual confirmation of how she lived her life in raising her family.
Connor was one of those very special little boys whose short life was filled, as Bennie’s was, with reaching out to others and sharing wherever he could.
In my columns I have often incorporated the idea of the value of sharing the care of the home not only to help get it all done but more importantly to enhance the life of each member of the family. Bennie and Connor’s stories highlight and confirm this enhancement.
Bennie was one of those mothers who believed in putting her children to work. To hear her daughter tell it, “We were always busy in the kitchen cooking and preparing meals for others as well as our own family. Thanksgiving meant days in the kitchen creating feasts and delivering them to countless other homes.”
She shares her teenage story of complaining to Bennie about how they were always giving to others, “But what about us?” Bennie overshadowed her complaints by just as quick a reply: “Where is your gratitude in having all that you have in comparison to the others?”
The conversation ended but the good results continued with her daughter raising four children of her own all the while dedicating the major portion of her life as head of intensive care in one of the local hospitals and teaching her own children the need to share the care. The greatest gift that Bennie gave to her daughter was not only how to do things of the home but more important the value that it brings even beyond the family; the value of true generosity.
Little Connor left this world all too soon for those who loved him. A tragic riverboat accident stole his life and yet it is his very rich life that will remain alive in the hearts of those who knew him. Connor was just 2 years old when his sister Kate was born with health complications that required numerous hospitalizations. His grandmother always referred to him as her hero because of his ability to step aside and to understand the necessity to share the care with his sister who needed so much attention.
Connor from an early age was asked to give and give he did. That ability soon transferred to school and to friends and to his baseball team. He was known as a star not only because of his abilities but more for his great generosity to the underdog. His parents commented they had always prayed for a guardian angel to take care of their Kate and they now realize the angel had been under their roof for 10 years.
A thousand people attended the funeral of this little boy who in his short life had given the meaning of life to so many — the life that is only found in sharing the care; the life of generosity.
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Kathie Hunt, founder of HomeAdvantage Plus, decided, with husband John, to call Naples home after 13 years of being “snowbirds.” She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or Kathiehunt239@aol.com.