My mother shared this story with me as she was in failing health. Now as I’m closing in on my golden years, her words have become even more meaningful, and her message more poignant.
I thought you might like it, and I hope I can do it justice.
There was once a young woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness. She was given three months to live. As she was getting her “things in order,” the young woman contacted her priest and asked him to come over to the house. She wanted to discuss certain aspects of her final wishes.
The young woman told him which songs she would like sung at the service, what scriptures she would like him to read, and what outfit she wanted to be buried in.
Everything was in order and as the Priest was preparing to leave the young woman suddenly remembered something. “There’s one more thing,” she said excitedly. “What’s that,” the Priest’s asked. “This is very important, I want to be buried with a folk in my right hand.”
The Priest looked at the young woman, not knowing how to respond.
“Does that surprise you,” she asked?
“To be honest, I am puzzled by the request.”
“Well, in all my years of attending socials and dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, keep your fork. That was my favorite part of the meal because I knew that something better was coming . . . like velvety chocolate cake or maybe deep-dish apple pie.
I just want people to see me there in the casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder, ‘what’s with the fork?’ Then I’d like you to explain that they should keep their fork, because the best is yet to come.”
At the funeral, as people were walking by the young woman’s casket, they all noticed the fork in her hand. Over and over the Priest heard, “what’s with the fork,” and he’d smile.
During his message to those in attendance, he shared the conversation he had with the young woman, and mentioned what the fork symbolized to her.
When I think of Mom, I always think of this story, and it always makes me smile. For the best is always yet to come and to all my friends, and those of you I have yet to meet, I consider each of you my “yet to come.”
No, I’m fine, there’s nothing wrong with me that I know of but as we enter 2019, I hope this story might make the next twelve months a Happy New Year for you too.
And as for the fork, it’s on my desk, next to the keyboard.