In this episode, Lorissa shares some personal insights from the recent illness of her husband and the loss of his father and how reflecting on death can sometimes help us experience clarity in how we truly want to live.
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Hello, my beautiful and beloved friends. This is episode 48 of the Made For Greatness. I am your host Lorissa Horn. And as always, I am so grateful and blessed that you are here with me today. Now, to be real honest with you, a couple of weeks ago, I had no idea that I was going to be recording the episode that I am recording today. This is a deeply personal episode and has to do with just some recent events in my life that many of you probably are aware of. Cause I know so many of you have been praying for me and for my husband, our family, a couple of weeks ago, most of the members of my family came down with COVID. I’ve already had it. So thankfully I didn’t get it again, but my kids all got it. And really for them, it was like a couple of days of having some congestion in their nose.
That was it. Then they were over at no more symptoms, but my husband who struggles already with a little bit of asthma ended up getting COVID pretty, pretty significantly. And it turned into pneumonia and he developed a really horrible cough. And then his oxygen levels started dropping and I knew that he needed to get some help. So last week I ran him into an urgent care and they did some x-rays discovered that he had pretty severe pneumonia and they told me that they could not treat him there, that they needed, that we needed to go to the hospital right away. And so I rushed my husband to the hospital and immediately they admitted him. They were not only concerned about his oxygen levels, but there was also some signs of blood clots and he had a blood clot in his leg and some blood clots in his lungs.
And all of a sudden we realized that this was very, very serious and I’ll never forget that moment of dropping him off literally at the hospital entrance and not even being able to really walk into the front doors. I was able to take like one step into the hospital and they brought over a wheelchair and took him away very quickly. And I will never forget that emotion of watching him go away really quickly and realizing that I didn’t even have a chance to say goodbye to him. I didn’t have a chance to hug him or to tell him that I loved him or anything. It just happens so quickly. And that that memory is burned into my heart because I remember walking out, it was kind of late at night and standing in the hospital parking lot, truly with this deep sense of fear and sadness of wondering will I see him again?
And it was, I mean, it was really that serious. Had we waited even 12 more hours. He could have had a very tragic outcome. And thankfully, as I am speaking to you today at this moment, my husband is doing a lot better. He was in the hospital for five days, but now he’s home and he’s recovering and he should make a full recovery. And we’re so thankful. We’re so thankful to the hospital staff and the doctors and nurses. We’re so thankful for the thousands of people that have been praying for us and just the outpouring of love and prayers and all of it. And there’s been so many little miracles that I just can’t wait to unpack at some point in this experience because really the hand of God has been so present working in this situation. However, I have to share one more thing.
A couple of days after my husband got home from the hospital still, he was very weak very, you know, just still on oxygen and all of that. His father suddenly passed away and it was an absolute devastating shock to us, to his whole family. We’re still trying to process it. It was completely unexpected. It had nothing to do with COVID, but he had, we discovered some internal bleeding and, and we don’t even exactly know why, but that is how he died. And we are in the midst of, of true, truly grieving and coming together as a family and again, feeling the love and the prayers from so many people and the support has been absolutely incredible. But what I want to share in this podcast is really in the last week and a half, coming to this reality of, of death and experiencing death firsthand, the death of, of his father, who we love so very much, he’s an amazing, amazing man of God.
And for me really reflecting on the reality that I could have very suddenly lost my husband. And so in this time and the time that my husband was in the hospital and the time that we’ve been even spending together since his father died, we have spent a lot of time and prayer. And a lot of time reflecting, talking, sharing, just pondering the realities of life, the realities of death. And I, I can’t even begin to articulate how extraordinary it is to be Catholic in moments like this. I am so incredibly thankful for the gift of faith that we have the gift of our Catholic faith and the teachings of our faith and the belief in God. And in our, in the gift of salvation that he offers to us, the gift of the communion of saints and knowing, and feeling people’s prayers and knowing that the saints are praying for us, all of it and recognizing that God is in our midst and that we are clinging to him, even in the midst of these great crosses and in this great suffering.
And so truly I have had all the emotions this past week, I’ve had emotions of great fear, emotions of sadness, emotions of regret, emotions of gratitude, and even emotions of joy, even joy in the midst of this dark time. And all of those emotions tell me something really powerful. And as I’ve been experiencing them and processing through all these emotions that come up, because there’s all the emotions of grief and all the emotions wrapped into, you know, the reality of losing someone that you love and, and the fear that comes into that, but also the extraordinary joy that we have in knowing that death is not the end and that death has lost its sting because of our Lord. So all of this has just been, been playing on my heart and I have just wanted to almost pause time. Like I wish I could just stop time because time just moves so fast, but I just wish I could stop and really just hold on to these moments, because I know that God is trying to teach me something and he’s trying to teach me and my husband and our family, some really deeply profound mysteries, I believe.
And I just want, I want to just be with God in these moments. And I feel like I’m going to be unpacking this for a long time. And I hope to share as, as I, as my heart opens up to even more of what God wants to reveal, but I can say this in this last week, there is this term that just these words that keep coming up, and it’s a Latin phrase, Memento Mori, Memento Mori, and it means, remember your death, it’s Latin for remember your death. And the thing that I keep thinking about is how over the millions of years, like where do you live in a very unique time in history where, especially in the United States, especially in this time and in our culture, we don’t think about death a whole lot. Like we, we kind of had this idea, this notion that we’re going to live a long, wonderful, beautiful life, and we’re going to, you know, maybe die when we’re in our eighties or nineties.
And we just, we know that we have access to so much medication and healthcare and all of that, that, that a lot of times I think we really do feel pretty invincible when it comes to, to death. And I think about maybe our ancestors, I think about people that have gone before us, all the generations that went before us, they didn’t have that same luxury of the care and, and all the stuff that we have medicines and access to all of that, that we have today. And so for many people throughout the millennium in the past death was oftentimes at the forefront of their minds. Why? Because it happened so much more. And it happened to people at all. You know, of all ages, people would get a fever and they might die. Women. We know many, many times would die in childbirth and children would die.
We learn about the lives of the saints. And so many of them had siblings that died as children or infants and saints who died at early ages. All of that, like it was very normal to, to die in your thirties or forties. So there was always, you know, illness and sickness and poverty and all of that surrounding them. And I just can’t help. But think that if, if death was on your mind more often, like if you thought about death and the thought, any thought about the realities of death and the reality of your eternal life and eternal salvation, if that was on your mind more, I just wonder how much differently you would live. Like I wonder if the people in the past, because the reality of death was always somewhat imminent, did they live differently? Did they draw closer to God more often?
Because I have to tell you my sisters in Christ and this last week, I found myself just wanting to draw so close to God as the realities of death have been so strong in my life. And I can’t help. But think about these things. Now, there was a profound moment when I wasn’t sure, you know, I w when it came to Johnny, my husband, like, is he going to be okay? And the true reality and the worry of the possibility of losing him was very strong. I remember staying up almost the entire night in prayer and praying and crying out to God, really. And I found myself faced with one question when it came to the possibility of losing my husband, there was just one question that I kept asking myself, and it was this, did I love him? Well enough? Have I loved my husband?
Well enough? And I can honestly tell you in this deep moment of true pure seen honesty, the answer was a resounding no, I have not loved him. Well enough. That was the one thing that was clear to me. And I’m not saying this from like a, like, I’m beating myself up or like, I’m a horrible wife. Not at all. I know that I am a good wife. And I know that if my husband were listening to this right now, he’d be like, oh my gosh, I can’t even believe she’s saying this because he’s always telling me, he’s like, you’re like, you’re such an amazing wife. He’s always telling me this, but this is the reality. And I want to take this even further, because I think when you come to these moments, these deep reflective moments where you, it’s almost like a deeply profound examination of conscience, you have to ask yourself these questions.
And it is actually a beautiful opportunity to take a task. It takes some time. And for me, it was, it was deeply spiritual for me to stop and say, God has given me this extraordinary husband, this man in my life, who we share the sacrament of marriage together. And it is our goal to help each other get to heaven. And I know that we do that, but could we do it even better? And could I love him better? And the answer is, yes, I can. And this experience has, has to draw me closer to the desire of wanting to be better, to be an even more holy woman of God, and to want to be able to love my husband and even a greater capacity. I find it a little bit funny because Sterling and I, we were so excited in the month of September, we were going to be doing this big marriage challenge and how, you know, how can we, you know, help our marriages and how can we grow in our marriages and grow, help us to, you know, to improve our relationships with our husbands.
That was our focus for masters this month. And I remember in August being so excited, like, okay, I’m really excited to step into September to have our relationships with our husbands be the focus because I wanted to improve my marriage. I wanted to improve my relationship with my husband. And although I believe we have a really great marriage, like it can always be better. And so I was, I was thinking like, yeah, this is going to be an awesome month. I really want to focus on my marriage. And I really want to work on some things, particularly in light of myself. Like, where can I grow? How can I grow as a wife? And I remember even at the beginning of the month, the first week or two writing down doing some model work, doing some thought work on, okay, what are some, some of the thoughts that I have about my husband that maybe are some negative ones that I need to clean up in my mind and clean up in my heart.
And there are kind of the basic things. I mean, there was, there was some things that I had been frustrated about with my husband. Some, some projects that he told me he was going to take care of that he hadn’t. And so I could, I was feeling a little bit of resentment, a little bit of frustration towards him. Like, when’s he going to get those things done? And why hasn’t he done it yet? Like, those were the things. And then kind of the typical, you know, the ties would get into arguments, or maybe we’re short with each other. The times that I take him for granted, the times that I don’t really respect him, or I don’t feel like he respects me, all of those things, I was, those were the things that I was kind of working on. And particularly a lot of the negative emotions that I was feeling towards him about such as some really like pretty small things.
But it’s sometimes those small things that fester up to start to, you know, bug you a lot over time and then you can start to build up resentment and stuff. And so I knew that I needed to work on those things. And I was, I was diving into the work and doing the stuff and masters, and we were, we were getting into this stuff. And then all of a sudden, my life kind of just shifted in a single instant. And there I was with, you know, at home with my kids, my husband’s in the hospital. I have no idea what’s happening. And what was absolutely amazing to me in that moment was how all of those issues, all of those frustrations, all of the, those little moments of anger or resentment, the frustrations of things not getting done, like all of a sudden, none of that mattered, like none of it.
And all I remember thinking is I would let those projects go for a lifetime. If I could just be like, sure that my husband is going to be okay. Like, I don’t even care. I don’t even care about those projects. I don’t care about things that I haven’t been done or finished in the house. And I don’t care about the little arguments or the things that my husband does sometimes that annoys me. Like, I don’t care about any of that. I just, just like the only thing I care about. And the only thing I want is another opportunity so that I can love him better. How was it? And that was my prayer truly. And so like now that he’s home, like again, even those things, they still don’t matter. And I was talking to my husband one night. It was the third, second or third night that he was in the hospital.
I had to just a couple minutes to talk with him on the phone and he could barely talk. He was so weak, but I know that he was having very similar things going on in his heart and in his head. And even to this day, like we still, like, there’s so much that we need to talk about because I know that God was working on his heart in such a powerful way. But even with his faint voice, as he’s on oxygen fighting to breathe, my husband says some really powerful things to me. And he said this, he said, Lorissa, I’ve just had some, some time here in this hospital and really the facing the reality of what I’m going through. And he said, all of a sudden, I just realized that all of the little things in our lives that bother us and the things that we’re annoyed about and the things that, you know, we, we find ourselves getting, getting upset and frustrated about.
He said like, none of it matters. None of it matters. And he said, Lorissa, all that matters is how well do we love God? And he said to me, he said that his whole, that matters, like at the end of the day, at the end of the month, at the end of our life, there is only going to be one true question that we will be faced with. And it is this, how well did I love? And not even like, how well did other, like, how, how did other people love me? No, that’s not going to matter how, how great was my life or how wonderful, where the memories are, the adventures, none of it like what’s going to matter is how well did we love? How well did we love others? And most especially like how well have I loved God. And even as both my husband and I have paused to reflect on this as if, as if like, like really like reflecting on it as if our lives were to end today.
And we were faced with that question, how well did I love others? Like my family, how well did I love my spouse? But most especially how well did I love God. And I don’t know about you when you ask yourself that question, if you were to think about being faced, you know, with face with mortality. But for me, again, I find myself saying like, like if I were to die today, how well have I loved? And I know that I’ve loved well, but like, like I know that I didn’t love God as much as I could have, and that does something to me. It makes me sad, but it also, it just empowers me in such a profound way. Like it makes me realize, okay, like, I can’t change anything about the past, but I actually have been given the gift of another day.
And hopefully I’ll be given a gift of another day tomorrow. And if I am given the gift of another day that I want to live my life, loving him as much as I can. And as well as I can. And so this reality, this, this notion of memento Mori of like, remember your death, remember the fact that our life here on earth is so short and it is so precious and it is so fragile. And we have no idea, right? Like we might live for another 40 or 50 years, or it might be another three to four months. Like we just don’t know. And so, as Catholics, as women of God, we are given this moment in time to love God with our whole hearts and to love him with an urgency. I think that’s like, what’s really on my heart is to like, how am I living my life and loving God with an urgency?
Because I think there is an urgency this world that we live in is, is dark, right? There’s a lot of darkness and you and I like, we are called to bring Christ light into this darkness in a profound way. We are called to speak his truth. We are called to love unapologetically, and we are called to live out our faith in a way that is a beacon of light to others. And so this whole experience has caused me to like, it’s, it’s shaken me up a little bit. It’s kind of like, I think I was maybe starting to get a little bit lukewarm or something, which we know is not good, but like, it’s shaken me up to want to like, say like, okay, how am I loving and what am I doing? And inventory of my life and recognizing like, am I living my life the way I truly want to live it as though if I were to die tomorrow, that I would be able to face come face to face with God and to be able to tell him like, Lord, I know that I wasn’t perfect.
I know that I made mistakes, but I tried to love you the best that I could. That is the prayer that is on my heart. And it’s even the prayer that I find myself saying when it comes to my own marriage, like, okay, like how well am I loving my husband? And I find it so fascinating that the thoughts that I was having about my husband before all of this happened, and the thoughts that I’m having now are so different. And it’s, it’s, they’re just thoughts. I mean, before, before this was having the stuff I was working on, it was like, okay you know, my I’m kind of frustrated at my husband. He doesn’t finish projects and I’m frustrated, or there’s some resentment there. I was having just some negative thoughts, but then after all of this happened, all of my thoughts about him have shifted.
And then the thoughts that I’ve been having about him lately are I love him so much. Like I don’t want to live without him. I’m so thankful for the gift of our vocation. Like I’ve been finding myself like saying that over and over. He’s my best friend. I think I just like, he’s my best friend. Again, I’ve found myself just saying nothing else really matters. And it’s amazing when, because everything that we teach in our master’s program and everything that we’re trying to share on this podcast is truly like the power of our thoughts. And so, you know, it’s funny to me that here as I’m recording this, we’re coming to the end of September. And my prayer going into September was that I wanted, you know, I asked God to please help strengthen our marriage. And and I believe that in a deeply profound way, his answered that prayer, not certainly in the way that I had anticipated by any means, but I have taken a strong look at the thoughts that I’ve had, and this is the deal for all of us.
We don’t have to get to the point that we almost lose our husbands to have really good thoughts about him. This is the work that we are called to do in our daily lives. Sure. It’s very easy to get caught up in the negative thoughts and the frustrating thoughts. And why does he do this? Or why does he not follow through on things? Or why does he have a negative attitude, right? We can, we can get really cut up, cut, caught up in those things, but all it takes is for us to sit down for a few minutes and to really step back a little bit, take a pause and step back to even enter into memento. Mori, not only like the possibility of like reflecting on our own immortality and the own, the reality of our own death, but like, even to think about, gosh, like what if my husband wasn’t here right now?
Like what if something were to happen does do these little things really even matter. It just like helps to take a step back and to look at things from a different perspective. And I know that it’s hard in those moments when we are really feeling frustrated, but all I can say to say is that it is really powerful to stop and go cosh. Does this really matter in the big picture and what are the thoughts that I want to have about him? Because the thoughts I’ve been having about him the last, you know, since he’s gotten home from the hospital have been pretty amazing thoughts. And, and not that they’ve all been perfect. I mean, we’re, we’re going through life right now and we’re in the state of grief and we’re tired and we’re exhausted. And so all of the day-to-day stuff hits us hard.
But when I sit and I think about the gift that my husband is to me and the extraordinary man that he is and the father that he is and how grateful I am for his life, man, it changes everything. And I just want to hold onto that. And I know a couple of weeks, or a couple of months down the road, we’ll probably fall back into the same routines, but I want to work at maintaining these thoughts and really making sure that I’m being very intentional because it’s all about our thoughts. And I know you’ve heard me say this before, but the quality of our relationships start with the quality of our thoughts that we have about the people that we want to have the best relationships with. So it’s important to take the time to really ask ourselves, how do I want to feel about this person?
Like, how do I want to feel? And when it comes to our spouses, like for me, I want to feel grateful. I want to feel gratitude. I want to feel great passion. I want to feel overwhelming love like towards this man that God has brought into my life and blessed me with. And so if I want to have those emotions that I know that I have to be very intentional about the, that I want to create and have about him. So my sisters in Christ, this is what was on my heart. This is what I wanted to sh what I have wanted to share with you again, I want to thank you all for just loving us so well through this time. So many of you have reached out to us and have been praying for us and sending us messages and Facebook, you know, notes and messages.
And gosh, I cannot thank you enough. And please know that I have also been praying for all of you. So many of you have been on my hearts. I know some of you are carrying significant crosses right now that you are going through your own pain. You’re caring, you’re walking through your own grief in your own life right now. And I know that I just want to say, like, we’re all in this together. We are the body of Christ when one member suffers the whole body suffers and when one member rejoices the whole body rejoices. So let us remember, even in the midst of our deepest pain, sometimes we feel so very much alone, but we are not. We are surrounded by the angels and the saints, and we lift each other up in prayers at every mass, in every rosary in every holy hour.
We come before God. And he enters into us and into our hearts and into our presence in such a profound way that this great and deep mystery, like we can’t even begin to comprehend how truly United we are both in our sufferings, as well as in our greatest hopes and dreams. And in the moments that we rejoice. And I just want you to know my sisters in Christ, how loved you are and how precious of a gift each of you are that we all are maybe take some time to reflect on the gift of our life. On the fact that God, from the beginning of time dreamed us up. And he brought us into existence so that he could love us with every ounce of love. He is capable of loving in his completeness, that his very love for us holds us into existence and that he desires to be with us for all of eternity. How, how are we called to live in response to that love? That is the question on my heart. That is the, that is the way I want to live my life. That is the response that I want to live to. Like, how am I called to respond to that kind of love.
The answer is by loving the best that I can. And that is the joy. That is the excitement that’s like, that lights me up. Thinking about that question on how can I love God and enter more profoundly into the love that he wants to give me in this exchange, this radical exchange of love that we get to experience here in this life and that I dream about experiencing for all of eternity, my sisters in Christ. I pray that God blesses you abundantly this week. And may you never forget that you are made for greatness. I’ll talk to you soon. God bless.