Tragedy brings couple together

| 05 Feb 2018 | 02:14

The connotations and denotations of the word love can baffle people, especially around Valentine’s Day. But love will always be simple, true, lasting, caring and devoted.
This Valentine story is about four individuals, two who remain and will carry the other two in their hearts forever. Two couples Kathy and Tom Crum and Fred and Janice Barth were neighbors in Vernon. In the words of Fred Barth, they were casual neighbors, friendly, but not best friends. As life sometimes does, tragedy struck both families in 2011. Janice was diagnosed with brain cancer and Tom succumbed to lung cancer later that same year. Both couples had happy long- term marriages, careers, children and grandchildren and of course were devastated with dealing with terminal illness and heartbroken with losing a spouse.
With the loss of her husband Tom, Kathy relied on her strong faith, attended bereavement sessions and was introduced to a healing book at those sessions entitled Mourning and Dancing by author Sally Downham Miller. A specific chapter called Heart Mansions was especially helpful to Kathy. It referred to the heart as a mansion with many rooms and each loved one is always there assigned to their own room. No one takes their place, they remain in our hearts forever.
As Janice’s illness progressed and worsened, Kathy began helping her neighbors Janice and Fred with prepared meals, support, visiting and faith inspired emails. Janice passed away on Tom’s birthday, April 16.
The two remaining of the couples looked to each other for support. Kathy’s strong faith in God helped Fred to rekindle his own faith as well.
“We don’t believe our meeting and subsequent relationship was an accident,” Fred stated.
Fred and Kathy were married on Sept. 13, 2015, surrounded by their loving families, friends and two brightly burning candles that represented their former spouses.
“The Lord has always been there for us, even through our darkest times,” said Fred. “We thank God that he has given us to each other, so that we may still experience joy, love and companionship,” he added.
When asked separately to think of one adjective to describe the other, both Kathy and Fred surprisingly responded with the same word, caring.