The message that changed my life

Lorraine Murray

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Lorraine Murray

We moved often when I was a child, so I left secret messages in my various bedrooms to prove I had once lived there. I found a place inside a closet, where the words would be hard to discover, since I wanted the message to last, rather than being erased by the next inhabitants. The message was simple enough: “Lorraine Viscardi lived here,” plus the dates. It was a little mark on history, a way to create a sense of permanency in a life that was constantly shifting.

After my husband died, I started looking for a message he might have left me. In the first few months, I would check and re-check the pockets of his shirts and jackets, hoping to unearth a slip of paper with words that would help me survive without him. Since he had died of a heart attack, while taking a walk, alone, I had been deprived of any last words, any final prayer. I asked the people who found him, but they couldn’t convey a message either, since he had apparently died instantly.

Eventually I stopped the search and realized there was no reason he’d leave a note, since his death had been as great a surprise to him as to me. Then one day I was looking in his desk drawer, and way in the back I unearthed a journal I’d never seen before.

I turned the pages and there it was — the message I’d been seeking. It had been written 23 years before his death, when he was approaching the age when his father had died. “Dear Lo, If it should ever be necessary for you to paw through this book (i.e., if something has happened to me and I don’t mean I got stuck at the Farmer’s Market indefinitely) ... know that, regardless of what may have happened, I was given the best years of my life by you. Please go on with things the best you can ... there will always be wonder and joy in living. Keep that always in mind, and know that I love you dearly.”

I took that message to heart. Seeking wonder and joy in the small events of everyday life has helped me endure the years without him. Each day I seek God in the wonders of the natural world — fat mockingbirds at the feeder, fancy butterflies dancing on flowers, the communion-wafer full moon. On my daily walks, I take videos of honey bees gathering nectar, furry caterpillars on the sidewalk, elusive grasshoppers.

Even during the first years of intense grief, I discovered joy in friendships and visits with relatives. Eventually, a shift occurred and the lovely promise of Jesus began coming true: “Your grief will turn into joy.” Before long, I was filled with joy whenever I reflected on how happy we’d been. Yes, I would have liked more time with Jef, but we were married for 33 years, which is a huge blessing.

After all, every love story has an ending, and the final chapter is written by God. And God also wrote the beginning chapters, starting from the moment we met and continuing to the wedding day and the deep friendship we forged. In the wedding vows, we promised to love and honor each other until “death do us part.” Death has parted us physically, but the connection between our souls is eternal.

The little girl who left messages so she wouldn’t be forgotten, had her dream come true. She will always be remembered in the heart of Jesus Christ and in the heart of the man he sent her.

Lorraine’s email address is