My father-in-law, Ed Kasner, was in nearly perfect health the day that his wife of 52 years died last fall. He was ambulatory, cognizant, and on no medications. He mourned deeply her passing, for days his eyes profoundly reticent with pain. Within a week after Mary Lou’s death, we all noticed that Ed was beginning a movement inward and away from the world he loved so much. For the first time in his life, Ed was placing his needs before the needs of others.

And while the six children wanted to hang on to their father as long as they could, they also knew deep in their souls that Ed would not be happy until he was reunited with the love of his life…Mary Lou. He so wanted to hold her hand and kiss her cheek, just once more. Over the next few months the family was committed to being with her father daily, trying to guide him through the stages of grief and emotional strife, all the while watching him subtly harness the power of love in order to separate his mortal self from his spiritual self, and to get on the road to Mary Lou.

Ed died peacefully this last spring.

In my final goodbye, I thanked Ed for all that he had done for me and all that he had taught me. He loved to hug and loved to laugh his raucous laugh. He sang old ditties to his grandchildren and cradled his great grandchildren. He made each individual feel special and unique. Every day, he redefined true love. Even in his death, he reminded me what it means to love a woman, what it means to commit to a marriage, what it means to be a strong and genuine man.

This December, his six children live solemnly, yet contentedly, without their father, for they know that Ed deserves his happiness.  They are comfortable knowing that he has moved on, and he is once again able to wrap his fingers around Mary Lou's hand and gently kiss her cheek as they travel into the marvelous spirit of eternity.