Something about the card I received almost 18 years ago wouldn’t let me throw it away. Of course, my husband might argue I lean towards that tendency for too many things –but this was different. This was special. On the front, was a Vaudevillian-type singer with mouth open in song, tipping his hat. The words beneath him read, “Just wanted to drop you a note.” It was an adorable card, but that wasn’t the reason I kept it for so long. The real reason was the kindness and warmth found in the words inside. It was from Edgar Willig, father of Fr. Jim Willig, the priest with cancer I had recently written about for my weekly column in the Cincinnati Post. In those warm words, he thanked me for writing the column, said it was “absolutely wonderful and inspiring” and then congratulated me on making a difference. He ended by saying he hoped we would meet one day. It was simple and sweet and I knew I needed to meet him. And I did. To say he lived up to his warm-hearted thank-you card would be an understatement. The man was the epitome of thoughtfulness, faithfulness, and delightfulness. He adored his family and his Catholic faith. But if anything was a close second, it might be his love of singing. Maybe it was that common-bond between us that connected us. Personally, I rarely miss an opportunity to break out in song and go for the high note. And neither did Ed. The following years would find us singing together during special masses, get-togethers, or just simple visits. Of course the following years would also find us saying goodbye to some dear souls. First, his beloved son, Fr. Jim, lost his well-fought battle with cancer. And then, again, when his beautiful wife of more than 60 years, Alice, was called home as well. For a long time, Ed was more than ready to join them. Sometimes he would wonder why he was still here at all. But the rest of us knew: the world was –quite simply –a better place with Edgar Willig in it. And even though he was ready to join his loved ones in heaven, he remained a breath of positivity here on earth. His motto, “keep singing, keep praying, keep smiling” shined through the intermittent shadows that sometimes come with getting older and slowing down. Then at last, on the day when we celebrate love --Valentine’s Day, at 2:14 p.m., he was reunited with his much-loved wife and son. And while the world, admittedly, seems a little less perfect right now, those who love him know his incredible spirit will continue on as long as we, too, keep singing, praying and smiling. So it is today that I hold that special card in my hands, grateful for the relationship that came to be –the songs sung, the prayers prayed, the smiles smiled. And this time, I am the one who must borrow the warm words from his original card: Thank you, Ed Willig. Your life was absolutely wonderful and inspiring. You made such a difference. And yes, I hope we meet, again, one day.