John K. Kennedy and Ted Sorensen co-wrote Profiles in Courage that detailed eight United States Senator. The book was published in 1955 and two years later won a Pulitzer Prize.

I would suggest the person with the most courage, at least that I have seen, is my niece Kristine (Mosher) Butts. Kristine, the daughter of my brother Ron and wife Barbara, was the first born of nine children and escaped a blood disorder that took the life of sisters Robin and Charmaine and that also has afflicted sister Andrea and brother Todd, but could not escape MS, which was diagnosed when she was in her early 30s, but may have been with her as early as 19.

Kris was a divorced mother of two boys (Zenon and Rory) and despite this insidious disease insisted she spend her life in her own home in Arcade, NY, and whatever the strong-willed Kristine declared was granted.

The disease very slowly did its dirty deed until finally it arrived big-time about 15 years ago and Kris was confined to a bed fulltime with 24/7  in-house care.

But she was in total control. Her mind was sharp and she planned everything and made sure it was carried out. This was not a dictatorship sort of thing. She was committed to the Lord and did everything with a smile that could melt any dark heart (well, maybe not Trump’s) and just wanted to make sure that the disease may eventually kill her but it was not going to defeat her.

And it didn’t.

I was back there two years ago this month and we had a pizza party at her house. She could not move a finger, but she was in total command of the festivities and did it with a warm and giving heart (we all could take lessons from her) and, of course, with a smile.

Kris never complained about her circumstances. Of course she suffered, but you would not know it by being around her. You knew when you were in her presence. The light shone on her with godly warmth and even the most disheartened visitor could be overcome by it.

In the early stages of the disease I would have long phone conversations with my brother and he would give a detailed rundown on what it was doing to her, and I would listen and my stomach would churn and hurt and I would just shake my head because Ron and Barb were also affected by it. Their lives revolved around Kris and it was difficult for them to help her and make sure she was comfortable and had the proper medical help so she could live in her own house.

They tried over the years to get her to accept care in a nursing home, but she would have nothing to do with that. So it went on and on for over 30 years as this beautiful spirit kept going on and on even as the disease made her completely immobile.

Her long ordeal came to an end Monday (August 7) about two weeks after she was hospitalized with pneumonia. Finally, the doctors gave the news that had been expected decades earlier – there was nothing more they could do for her.

Kris was placed in hospice care at the hospital on Sunday, but she gave one more final order – I want to die in my own house, she told her sons. So arrangements were hastily made and at 4:30 on Monday she arrived home.

“You are home,” they whispered to Kris as she lay nearly comatose in her own bed from the morphine drip.

As if on cue, God lifted the dark veil, Kris opened her eyes and with the comfort of family around her she produced a faint smile and within minutes was gone, her long profile in courage over with.

Over 3,000 miles away on the West Coast, her aunt Mary suffered a dark Monday. She gets them when something bad happens in the family and she didn’t know why this one had come until she felt the presence of Robin, Charmaine and Kris’ grandmother (Barb’s mother) reaching out to Kris. Then we all knew here on the West Coast Kris had been taken home.

It’s sad, but also comforting that Kris, who was 63, is no longer suffering. We will miss the bright light that she shone on everybody, but are at peace knowing that she is with the Lord.

I know that not everybody who reads this will agree with the presence of God in this saga, but I have had enough experiences of my own to know He exists. God can’t solve all the world’s problems because He has given us Free Will to do as we please and if we please to do things that He would not condone, then that is on us.

God, I know, has guided my life. He has not stepped in to stop me from doing stupid things. That again is Free Will. He has helped guide me, though, and I’m sure he was watching over Kris to see how she would handle a life that for others looked terrible but was well-lived by her.

So Kris is free, free at last. Another bright light is back in heaven.

Be well pal.

Be careful out there.

Have a good day.

You are loved.