Fraternity in the Team
Hand in Hand
“Your husband is not well, I’m afraid. He needs to go to hospital as quickly as possible,” the radiologist exclaimed. I had thought as much, but the coup de grace was delivered when the lung specialist in the casualty department thought it necessary to add, “He has several tumours and there’s no way we can operate !”
A new journey was beginning for me, was it the last one ?
"These words had chilled my wife and I, just like a sword piercing us both simultaneously. If only they had been able to put a name to this sickness that had invaded me. A tunnel opened before us. Would we know how to overcome this ordeal ? Thirty-six years of married life flashed by in an instant, but how many more months were left ? Our priority was to pray. Conjugal prayer that used to be so difficult between us before became the cement in our relationship.
I didn’t want to see anyone because I was afraid that my face, disfigured by the sickness, would cause anguish and I didn’t want their compassion. What person, who is well, has any idea of what suffering is? Their prayers comforted me and their silence did not mean that they were indifferent. They knew me well and respected my self-imposed solitude. My wife found solace and support in our Team of Our Lady. Thirty years with practically the same team members from the start creates strong links and the sharing, my wife told me, was a moment of fraternity that had never before been experienced like that in the Team. Holed up at home, I was delighted. Later I was able to be successfully operated upon and followed up by a treatment that worked.
Two months of true happiness for us! Then my wife got leukaemia. Her first cry was to rail against the heavens for such injustice! From her sterile room, we continued our conjugal prayer and shared our suffering… and our hopes. We meditated on the word of God and opened our home to all our friends, who came by to show their affection. A smile, a caress, a drawing are often the only way to tell the person who is suffering how much you are thinking about them. The team members too rose to the challenge.
I never missed a team meeting, just because I knew that I would find rest for my soul there.
When the sickness advanced and palliative care was the last earthly home for my wife, I remember saying to the husbands at a team meeting, “Don’t wait until it’s too late to say ‘I love you’ to your wife.”
Time passed. My wife joined her heavenly Father. I remained attached to the Teams of Our Lady, because after my wife’s death, I didn’t want to go through a second ‘good-bye.’ One day I was asked to be the Liaison person between the movement and various teams. I agreed and I must say that I receive a hundredfold."
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