It is hard to believe that this week marks 6 months since my love departed from this world.
I often replay his final days in my mind, trying to remember what he was up to, imagining what he was feeling. The last time I saw him was 2 days before the accident, on a Sunday. We had spent the day before making final preparations for the top portion of our home to be rented. Of course, Tony needed to be studying for his Executive MBA program that entire day, but he chose to help me finish the daunting task instead.
All was going according to plan, until I heard a loud rush of water coming from the basement...the washer overflowed. I was so frustrated; Tony took it in stride, just like he normally did. We left it alone for the evening; Tony went on to study for a couple of hours before he came into the living room to ask me to dance. Dance? Yes, dance. My romantic husband again chose me over all other responsibilities, and as we twirled around our tiny living room, I remember wishing that this moment would last forever.
We spent our last day together with a trip to Lowe's for more home supplies, then on to worship at church. I still picture Tony standing with his arms held high in worship, swaying back and forth, which I loved. I left that afternoon with my friend Karen for a trip to Savannah & St. Simon's, where I had a couple of events for work. As I told him good-bye, Tony grabbed me into his arms; looking back, I could have stayed there a lifetime.
The next 2 days were a blur for both of us. I do recall that he spent most of it cleaning up the water in the basement and finishing up a couple more "to do" items for the house. He took care of everything, so that I did not have to worry. All the while, his recent promotion at work had landed him in a position to implement some unpopular decisions among the very people his heart's desire was to serve day after day. That Tuesday afternoon, he chose to find solace in enjoying one of the first beautiful spring days of the year at the highest natural place he could get to in Atlanta. And there, he finally started to study.
Sure, I can spend the rest of my life regretting that my Tony spent his final day on this earth taking care of house chores to make my life easier. It certainly wasn't a glamorous day.
Or, I can rejoice that he spent his final hours on this earth doing what Jesus calls us all to do - to love and serve others. Jesus says in Mark 10:43-45, "...whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be a slave to all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve..."
Tony's final words to me, via text, came from the top of Stone Mountain. It was as if they were scripted from heaven so that I would find comfort in them for the rest of my life:
"I'm at the top, starting to study. I wish you were here with me. It is beautiful up here, almost as beautiful as you."
And I know in my heart, that a little over an hour later, Tony heard these words from the God of the Universe:
"Well done, good and faithful servant!" ~ Matthew 25:21