To the editor:
While preparing for Christmas, I am reminded of all that I am grateful for this year.
My husband, Eric, was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer last June. During his illness and rapid decline, my family received a tremendous amount of support here in the community.
We are grateful for the friends who have provided weeks upon weeks of meals, and co-workers at Catholics United for the Faith helped Eric both at work and at home. Several families organized a website and nonprofit to meet our most basic needs. Friends have offered assistance with child care while Eric was hospitalized, driven carpools for us, offered their homes to our visiting family members, provided swimming lessons, music lessons, tutoring and shopping. The Big Red soccer parents, Thespian parents, Catholic Central friends and youth group leaders have supported our teens. Neighbors have offered their friendship and support. Several men have offered their services, from replacing broken window panes to installing doors. We have received a wave of love, compassion, friendship and material assistance.
I am grateful, also, for the many people who supported Eric spiritually. We all feel carried by prayer, and I am happy to think Eric faced death with confidence in the good God. The Revs. Raymond Ryland, Timothy Huffman, Jonas Shell, Deacon Tom Maedke and the Rev. Thomas Nau beautifully ministered to him and us. We thank the friends who faithfully brought the Eucharist to Eric and the many others who prayed with him and for him.
When Eric passed away in October, the nurses at Trinity Medical Center West and Valley Hospice made him as comfortable as possible. David Mosti and his staff treated us with professionalism and compassion. The ladies of St. Peter's and Holy Family provided a lovely luncheon for the several hundred mourners in attendance.
The help hasn't stopped. Every day I find another note or two in the mail, food is dropped off and the prayers keep coming. I am asked often how we are and feel help is ready when we need it. Receiving this outpouring of love has made us all more humble, but more important, hopeful for the future. God will continue to care for us through the love of our friends.
Eric and I would have celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary this year. How blessed we are to have spent the last 17 years here in Steubenville.