My sister and I were texting back and forth earlier today. She was telling me that she already says prayers for my pregnancy but now she was saying extra prayers for me because a presvytera (priest’s wife) she knows just had a stillborn baby boy at 17 weeks.  (I’m currently at 19 weeks and have struggled with miscarriages in the past.)

While I’m reading this text, my hand instinctively dropped down to my belly and gave little Symeon a hug as I rubbed my belly with several swoops from my palm.

Late this evening, my sister called me.  She asked me if I would say prayers for a Fr. Matthew Baker. He was a dear friend and mentor to her fiancé, Nick…and he died in a tragic car accident this evening. He was the husband of the presvytera we were talking about earlier today who just had a miscarriage.

Lord, have mercy.

He was driving home from church tonight and had all six of his kids with him when they were in a car accident.  All of his children are ok but he was flung from the car and passed away.

As if I couldn’t already relate and ache for Fr. Matthew’s wife, my sister told me she also homeschools her kids.  I later found out she has 5 boys and 1 girl.  Once upon a time I did too and this summer we will be back at 5 boys and 1 girl.

Oh. my. goodness.

It is my absolute worst fear that something happens to Les and I’m left without him.  Truly, I would be crippled without my husband in every way imaginable.

Even though I never met Fr. Matthew or his family myself, I have been forever impacted by their lives through the stories told to me by my sister and those I’m continuing to read as they pop up on the Internet.  (Additional tributes can be found here.)  It’s amazing how we can inspire and influence others through our actions even when we have never met them.

Acquire a peaceful spirit, and around you thousands will be saved.  – Saint Seraphim of Sarov

A fund has been set up for Presvytera Katherine and her children.  Please, please consider donating to it – even if it’s just a small amount.  $5 matters.  Truly.  You can even donate anonymously.  What would life be like for you tonight if your spouse had died in that car accident?  We can’t alleviate the pain Presvytera Katherine is experiencing today but we can alleviate her worries about how she will feed her children next week, how she will pay her bills next month, and how in the world she’ll be able to replace her van without a current income.  Let’s help take care of her daily needs by donating as much as we possibly can.  She has a long road ahead of her.

This is a perfect case in point about fasting and almsgiving – sacrifice.  What are we willing to give up at our next meal to help someone else out?  What are we willing to give up at our next three meals?  Three simple meals – in order to make a difference in a grieving widow’s life.  Creating a meal from items we most likely already have on our shelves right this very moment – rice & lentils, pb&j, beans & rice, pasta sprinkled with dried basil, salt, and pepper.  What are we willing to give up in order to help someone else in need?

I can’t even imagine what life would be like for me tonight if I was faced with the news that Les had died in a car accident.

May Fr. Matthew’s memory be eternal and may God grant his wife strength in the coming days, weeks, and years!