Keep Your Fork

Lois lived an exceptional life. She and her husband, Carl, raised three beautiful daughters. She was a devoted wife and mother, with an unshakable faith in God. As her daughters grew into adulthood she took pride in their accomplishments, loved the husbands they chose, and doted on each of her grandchildren as they came along. Sunday dinner was always at Grandma’s house. She’d start the cooking early Sunday morning, quickly get ready and go to church, and rush home to have dinner (that’s lunch for you northerners) on the table by one o’clock. One of the grandchildren would be picked to say “grace” before the feast could commence. Over the years Carl had worked with his financial advisor to build a substantial retirement including Social Security, his company pension and his personal IRA’s. So when the day came for him to retire he was able to step out of his job and into retirement without losing any of the income he was used to bringing home. Lois accompanied him on his visits to the advisor, but usually talked only of her faith and family. She trusted Carl fully to make sure the family was taken care of. One day Debra called, telling Carl’s advisor that her father had “gone home.” After the memorial service he spoke to Lois and gave her his condolences. But far from being devastated, she was upbeat. Asking her about it she said that she wasn’t sad, she knew where he was and was happy for him. After that the advisor met with her and her daughters to make sure everything was transferred as Carl had planned. As the years went by Lois became more frail and instead of Sunday dinner being at Grandma’s, Debra took over. Lois had a place of honor at the table, and all the kids still showed up after church. Some of the kids now had kids of their own and Lois became Great-Grandma. Debra called him one morning not long ago to tell him that her mother and father had been gloriously reunited. He visited the family during the receiving of friends at the mortuary and noticed something very strange. As the body of the fine lady he had grown very fond of lay in the casket, he noticed that she was holding a fork. During the service her pastor told everyone the story. Lois had requested a fork be placed in her hands at that time. She told him that some of her fondest memories were of socials held at the church where the person in charge would tell everyone to keep their forks because the best (desert) was yet to come. She wanted everyone attending her funeral to know that this life was not all there is, that the best is yet to come. It’s not always about money. It’s about a life well-lived. Lois’ testimony was enhanced because Carl had taken such good care of their future. And that’s the way it should be.