Dealing with the Loss of Darrell

Both Diane and Marlene were with Darrell yesterday afternoon when he went peacefully in his sleep. Now a long, arduous task loomed ahead, knowing they had to inform Bob, family, and friends of Darrell’s death. Shortly before the day was over, Diane found comfort from the following story of a “Woman and a Fork” (perhaps it will help you as well):

There was a young woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been given three months to live. So as she was getting her things ‘in order,’ she contacted her Pastor and had him come to her house to discuss certain aspects of her final wishes.

She told him which songs she wanted sung at the service, what scriptures she would like read, and what outfit she wanted to be buried in.

Everything was in order and the Pastor was preparing to leave when the young woman suddenly remembered something very important to her.

‘There’s one more thing,’ she said excitedly.

‘What’s that?’ came the Pastor’s reply.

‘This is very important,’ the young woman continued. ‘I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand.’

The Pastor stood looking at the young woman, not knowing quite what to say That surprises you?’ the young woman asked.

‘Well, to be honest, I’m puzzled by the request,’ said the Pastor.

The young woman explained. ‘My grandmother once told me this story, and from that time on I have always tried to pass along its message to those I love and those who are in need of encouragement. 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.’ It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was coming…like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie. Something
wonderful, and with substance!’

So, I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder ‘What’s with the fork?’ Then I want you to tell them: ‘Keep your fork ..the best is yet to come.’

The Pastor’s eyes welled up with tears o f joy as he hugged the young woman good-bye. He knew this would be one of the last times he would see her before her death. But he also knew that the young woman had a better grasp of heaven than he did. She had a better grasp of what heaven would be like than many people twice her age, with twice as much experience and knowledge. She KNEW that something better was coming.

At the funeral people were walking by the young woman’s casket and they saw the cloak she was wearing and the fork placed in her right hand. Over and over, the Pastor heard the question, ‘What’s with the fork?’ And over and over he smiled.

During his message, the Pastor told the people of the conversation he had with the young woman shortly before she died. He also told them about the fork and about what it symbolized to her. He told the people how he could not stop thinking about the fork and told them that they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either.

He was right. So the next time you reach down for your fork let it remind you, ever so gently, that the best is yet to come. Friends are a very rare jewel, indeed. They make you smile and encourage you to succeed. They lend an ear, they share a word of praise, and they always want to open their hearts to us.

Show your friends how much you care. Remember to always be there for them, even when you need them more. For you never know when it may be their time to ‘Keep your fork.’

Cherish the time you have , and the memories you share .. being friends with someone is not an opportunity but a sweet responsibility.

Send this to everyone you consider a FRIEND even if it means sending back to the person who sent it to you.

And keep your fork!!!!!!!!!


  1. Kathy & Gord says:

    What a wonderful story and one that I think Darrell would have related to. His life seemed to always be filled with experiences and “moments”. Every day is indeed precious and foolish are we if we don’t enjoy every one of them! We shall cherish our memories of Darrell and are very grateful that we had some “moments” with him and Bob.

  2. Diana Buczkowski says:

    Darrell was one special man. Once he touched your life, he would never be forgotten. We have all learned lessons from him on enjoying life. May he rest in peace. God Bless Bob and Darrell’s extended family and friends during this difficult time.

  3. Judi Johnston Goodwin says:

    I met Darrell when he joined the Underwriting Dept. of the Travelers office in Pittsburgh.
    I think all who met this man instantly found him to be a very likeable fellow. He had this very special gift , in that he could change your day that was filled with clouds and rain ,
    to a day of SUNSHINE and RAINBOWS !

    Rest well Darrell .
    As Always ,
    Judi Johnston Goodwin

  4. Laurene says:

    Bob, our deepest sympathy to you on your loss. You are special to us and we love you. We shall always remember your vistit to Houston and the time we had.
    I had the pleasures of working with Darrell for many years at TIC in Pittsburgh. Darrell was one in a million, a highly respected person – he taught me to laugh at myself. There are no words to express the sadness we fell.
    A toast to Darrell and all that he has given to all of us. You will never be forgotten.
    Rest peacefully. All our love, Al and Laurene

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