My husband and I had travelled to Mexico on mission trips but never for a vacation until last year. Our friends, who I will call George and Emma, own a time share in Cancun and graciously invited us to share it with them on their annual visit. They purchased it many years ago, and celebrated their wedding anniversary there annually. We appreciated their generosity and began planning the trip.
A few weeks later Raymond received an email from George with detailed instructions on how to book a flight to Cancun, how to get a reliable taxi to the condo and some other information. Since the trip was still 9 months away we were surprised, but knowing George is a planner and organizer, thought nothing else about it.
Not more than a couple of weeks later, we received chilling and scary news. George was ill; we didn’t immediately learn details, but apparently it was something bad. And indeed it was. We soon learned that he was diagnosed with an advanced cancer, that chemo could slow, but not cure. We were heartbroken for our friends.
We did not consider options for the trip; obviously neither they nor we would go. However, George the planner had other ideas. We went to visit them and after we all sat down and were comfortable George looked at Raymond and said, “I won’t be able to go to Cancun, but I want Emma to go, and I want you and Aletha to go with her.” They showed us a photo of the condo, located in a beautiful beachfront resort. It looked lush and luxurious, a stark contrast to the situation they were facing.
We didn’t know what to say; what do you say to a request like that? We didn’t want to upset him, so we just said yes, both of us silently wondering if it was the right thing to do.
George was right, he was not able to go to Cancun; he died a few weeks after our visit. We attended a memorial service for him; it was not a traditional funeral but a celebration of his life. And soon after, Emma contacted us and confirmed her intention to go on the trip and wanting us to go with her.
So we did and had a wonderful time. Emma was a gracious hostess, making sure we were comfortable, taking us to nice restaurants, ordering food in on a rainy evening. Having been there many times, she did not want to sightsee with us, but sent us out to visit the interesting local sites that she knew we would enjoy.
Over meals she would entertain us with stories of her life with George, their children and grandchildren, pastoring a church, and fostering more than 30 children. And she listened with understanding and unconditional acceptance as we shared some of the dark griefs that we have walked through, some of which we have shared with no one outside our family.
George and Emma are people who love God and express that love by caring for each other, their family and everyone else they meet. That week we were the fortunate recipients of that love too. In some ways, it felt like George was there with us after all.
While in Mexico, I used Frommer’s travel guide for information about the Cancun area and found it helpful and easy to use (this is an affiliate link that can help support this blog when used to purchase; thank you)