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Last week I received one of the most important and dear gifts my husband ever gave me. It didn't come in a box. It wasn't tied in ribbons. It wasn't soft like cashmere nor did it glitter like diamonds. It was a somewhat raggedy newspaper with an article about love and loss that let me know he understood my life, my joy, my pain, my soul. He handed me last week's News Courier with an article by Jill Pertler who was writing about the unexpected death of her husband and the ways she has responded to an unanticipated goodbye. If you read Jill's "Slices of Life," you will know as I did that she gets it. She understands the importance of goodbyes as an assurance that meeting again can become even more special, more noteworthy. She describes her life with her husband as one that was more than near and dear. Know that her memories can apply to any important connections and bonds - to parents, spouses. children and friends.

Jill shared a letter written to her by her husband in which he noted that "We are one of those couples that does everything together." When he died, she relied on the vows they expressed at their wedding that had nothing to do with "until death do us part" but rather "until we meet again."

Jill knew that their love would last forever as she stated that although she no longer had his physical presence, he is with her now as he lives in her heart. She knows that true love never fades. How fortunate I am to cherish her belief that her loved one is, and always will be, with her as she recalls so many of the details of their feelings and activities. She is blessed by her loved one's memory and by the certainty that, in one form or another, those who hold loved ones dear will remain with them forever.

Is all of this kooky? Maybe, but it is a kind of kooky that tenderly heals. She recalled a note which her husband wrote to her saying that "Love is one of the only things in this world that isn't relative. Everything else I can think of is always relative when compared to circumstances. But not love. Love is joyous, Love is kind and love is always constant in my eyes. Love is uncompromising and everlasting. She speaks of the truth of not being dismayed by distance. "As you are leaving do not be worried about the future. Believe that the best is ahead for you. Laughter is just around the corner. Believe in that.

I have asked the staff of the News Courier to find Jill's phone number. I must have lunch with her. So many truths to share,

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