Memories of a life well lived

To the editor:

On June 10, my husband, John DiCarlo passed away. He had been very ill for the last two years and had spent many days and weeks in and out of the hospital.

We had been married for 61 years. We had always had a happy and loving relationship. John was the most generous and kind person to all he knew. He spent his life working hard just to provide me and our children with the best he could give.

When you have a successful and loving marriage like we had, you often think about how you could survive if your mate should die before you, and you think it would be something you could never be able to handle.

My children and I spent most of the day after John died crying and making last-minute preparations for his burial.

We decided to have his viewing at our parish, St. Agnes Church, instead of the funeral home.

This turned out to be the most wonderful last tribute we could have given him. Throngs of people came to offer prayers and condolences. Each one had something beautiful to say about John. Many offered stories about things they had remembered and had shared with him. Business associates came from long distances just to pay respect to our family.

As the day went on, I began to feel a deep sense of peace. It was as if with each conversation a tiny bit of our pain and sorrow was lifted away. What had started out as the most sorrowful and dreaded day of my life suddenly, as if by some miracle, turned into a joyful celebration.

John and I had six children, and we now have 21 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, with one great-great-grandchild on the way.

As I looked around at all of our sons, daughters and grandchildren, I thought, “How can I be sad when, together, John and I are leaving behind such a wonderful legacy? It is a life well lived.”

As the days pass and our hearts are gradually lifted out of sorrow, we are able to laugh one minute and cry the next.

We have all been together through this and, because of this, my children have all said that because of this sad time something has awakened in their lives. Each one has told me that they want to make changes in their lives so they can live up to the standards of the true love and happiness their father lived by.

John is happy now. He was always a very devout man and tried to live as God would have wanted. I suspect that when he waited in line for his trip to heaven, he called Dale Earnhardt to come down and pick him up in the fastest car he had.

We know by our faith in God that he will always be looking down on us, keeping us safe.

We are saying goodbye with the realization that we’ll meet again.

Goodbye, hon. I will love you forever.

Babe DiCarlo

Mingo Junction