Thursday, June 10, 2010

" 'Til Death Us Do Part"?

It was June 10, 1961, when Allan Telfer Ironside took Patricia Christeen O'Halloran to be his lawful wedded wife ... in sickness and in health ... to love and to cherish ... 'til death them did part.

And I believe he has broken his vow.

I believe my father loves my mother even more now than he did two years and nine months ago, when death parted them. He learns more of her almost every day through her notations in journals and devotional books, from anecdotes people tell him, from memories we all share.

He learns more about himself too, now having the privilege of seeing himself through her eyes as he reads what she wrote about him. "Sometimes I think my wife was blind," he commented brokenly at our last Wednesday evening TH Bible study before the summer.

But we, who see him clearly, know she was not. She knew him in a way that seems increasingly rare these days for a person to know another, with her eyes wide open but her heart wide open too, for better, for worse, in sickness and in health ... loved and cherished with her whole heart; how could mere death put an end to that?

Dad, Matt and I had a short conversation a few days back about the church being the body of Christ. The whole church is the body of Christ, not just the infinitesimally small portion that is physically alive on the earth today. And as we know, bodies tend to remain connected, for the most part; some parts of our body might not be as visible as other parts, but they are all important and they are all working together for the good of the entire body. Therefore, as part of the church we are part of the same unified body of Christ that Mum is.

Of course I know she is not with us like she used to be, materially, maternally, matrimonially. But is it possible that, in some im-material way, we are more connected than we may think?

As dear Tony Hansen said to Dad shortly after Mum went to be with God, "She is with God. And God is with us. So she's not very far away."

Happy anniversary, you two.


  1. Your words were so precious - and what T. Hansen said: what comfort!
    You know, as we were leaving the TH last night, Emily commented, "I wish Mrs. Ironside was still alive." Well, who says she isn't? There are very few people who are still so foremost in people's minds and hearts, even several years after their death, as your mother is. It just goes to prove what is truly important in life and love truly does live beyond the grave!

  2. can i please claim that statement too? such a balm to my heart to know that if dad is with God and God is with me, then he's not very far away. i'm going to share that with tony.

    i thought of your parents as the sun broke through this evening - prayed that your dad would feel joy. i didn't know your mom, but i have loved getting to know her through your words.


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