“Headlights allow us to drive in the fog, but they provide just enough light to proceed slowly ahead with the setting on ‘low beam.’ When we try to look too far beyond the light all we see is fog and the unknown, so we stay within the low light provided. Because the future is in the fog we are protected from seeing beyond the present moment. This encourages us to live in the now moment, taking one step at a time toward our destiny, and trusting that the light provided will be just enough to guide our steps.”
– Pamela Fraser from her blog Yoga with a Christian Twist
Today we attended the memorial service for some dear family friends (Jim and Pam Fraser)– arguably my parents’ closest friends. Pam was the first person my mom told that she was pregnant (with me). My mom was scared and overwhelmed by this news as my parents had only been married for four months and were rather broke. They had just paid for their wedding themselves (not like the elaborate weddings you often see today, but a simple yet beautiful wedding) and purchased a condo (a fixer that they couldn’t afford to fix). Pam was there to encourage and support my mom through these challenges and to welcome me into the world. So for me, Pam and Jim and their children (they have two boys and a girl- all a bit older than me) were a part of my life from the day I was born. We went on family trips together growing up, but what really sticks in my mind are my more recent memories.
One of my favorite memories was when my Dad decided to randomly stop by the Fraser’s house on Christmas Day as we drove by on the way home from a family get together. So totally inappropriate to invade someone’s house on Christmas Day, but the Frasers welcomed us right into their family gathering. The next year we joined them again on Christmas evening. Walking into their house you immediately feel the warmth of family, friendship and love. One of the years we stopped by, Pam and her son-in-law were having a stuffing cook off, and we were supposed to vote which one was the best– like we could do that– but there was a lot of laughing as the competition heated up. How amazing that they invited us to be a part of their Christmas dinner and made us feel so comfortable, like we were part of the family.Pam just lit up the room with her smile, her easy laughter and the silly and often inappropriate things she would say (she said what she thought with very little filter). Jim was just as quiet as Pam was loud, but he had the most entertaining dry sense of humor that was a perfect complement to his beautiful wife who wrapped everyone in love and opinions. Once Pam offered me water and asked if I’d like ice in it. I said that I would and then was told that room temperature water was better for me. Her kids just laughed and told her to let me have water the way I wanted it. That’s how it was with them– everyone teasing and laughing and just being themselves.
My wedding shower: Pam- left, my mom- center, me- right
My baby shower for Parker: Pam- left, me- center, family friend & co-host Ann- right
Pam threw me the most beautiful wedding shower and baby shower. At the baby shower Pam said a prayer as we all held hands before we ate. Pam was a woman of great faith and loved to share her faith with others. Whereas the prayer was lovely, of course, I will never forget how it started, “…today as we celebrate Anne becoming a grandmother… [long pause]… and Jennifer becoming a mother…” Lol. What was most amazing about these celebrations she threw for me was the patient way that Jim helped his wife throughout the whole event. Trust me when I say these girly, touchy feely parties were not his thing, but Pam… well, he loved her so very much, and he showed it in these little things he did out of love for her.
Jim helping Pam prepare for my wedding shower
The last time I saw Pam was at my baby shower for Austin. She was well into her chemotherapy at this point and was not feeling well, yet she was determined to live and love life as best as she could despite her illness. So when she got the invitation to my baby shower (she couldn’t throw it this time, of course), she canceled the conflicting plans she had in order to be there for me and celebrate the new life God had blessed us with. It was so special to have her there, and as we all sat around and talked, she shared a story from her experience raising boys. She said her younger son would wrap her older son’s arm around his throat and scream out, “he’s choking me!” so make sure you see what really happened before you take action. Too funny… what a great story and good advice! I hugged her twice when she left that day, but it wasn’t enough… could it ever be enough?
At my baby shower for Austin: Pam- left
Pam and Jim both developed cancer in close succession, and it progressed rapidly. The effects of the chemo hit them both hard, but they supported each other through it. They were also surrounded by the love and prayers of family and friends. We lost Pam first and then a little over a month later lost Jim as well. I guess their love was too great to let a little thing like death get in the way. So today they celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary together in heaven while family and friends packed the church in order to celebrate their love and life with them. As a testimony to all the lives they touched, not only was the church parking lot packed, but so were the streets surrounding the church! It was so hard to say goodbye, even though we believe we will see them again. It’s awful to lose them both at once, but there is something wonderful about knowing they are reunited in heaven… loving each other into eternity. Thank you for the beautiful example you set for us all, and the love you poured out upon everyone you met. We will love and miss you forever!
On their wedding day 45 years ago today