She called me on my birthday last November and sang “Happy Birthday” to me on my voicemail. I saved it, so I can still hear her voice. I found her last handwritten “Thank You” note this morning, thanking me for a gift of perfume that I sent her. So, I have her handwriting as a memory of her thoughtfulness. I have a lovely crystal vase she gave me several years ago, for which I failed to send her a thank you note, although I always planned to. She will never receive that note. My daughter Tara and my granddaughters drove to Canada to see her last summer, and she and they had a wonderful time together. In her thank you note to me mentioned above, she said, “I did so enjoy my visit with Tara and the children. Hope they come again.” They wanted to go back this summer, but if they do, they will not be able to see her.
On Tuesday, May 21, 2019, ninety-six-year-old Bernadette Hession made a peaceful transition to her heavenly home. She was more than ready to go and join her beloved husband, Fred, who passed away in 2006. She leaves behind many loved ones, many of whom celebrated her life at her service, including her nail technician, her shoe salesman, and the eight adult children who lived beside her for many years!
Heartbroken at their loss, but grateful for her good health until the very end and her peaceful transition, are her four adult children; Jim, Cathy, Maureen, and Phyllis and their families. Bernadette’s life was a testament of love, joy, and grace; love for her heavenly Father and all others, joy for living manifested in many ways, and grace beyond measure. She was stylish until the end, often dressed in a hat, and in her honor, the adult women, her son, her son-in-law, and her great-granddaughter wore hats for her interment.
There is so much more that could be said about Bernadette, but perhaps all else that needs to be said is this: We should all live our lives so that when we are no longer present, what is left behind are (mainly!) happy memories to sustain our loved ones. No regrets for not calling her often enough, no guilt for not visiting her often enough, and no troubled relationships among her children.
And, no unwritten thank you notes.