The Heavens Gained an Angel Today
Posted on: Jul 23rd, 2020
….. as we sadly said goodbye to a very special friend, Terry Gaffney.
Terry passed away after living a life full of what was most important to him, especially his wife Jane, and sons Brendan (Christina) and Michael (Laura), grandchildren (Anna, David, Mark, Reid, and Hayes), family and friends.
Over the last 5 years, Terry also lived with the “inconvenience” of brain cancer, and subsequently another “inconvenience” when cancer was also found on his vocal chords. I call these “inconveniences” because that is the way Terry faced it. He didn’t “battle” his diseases, he “lived with them” while he continued to focus on what really mattered.
Despite the challenges and effects of cancer, he persevered as the happy, kind, loving, brilliant man that he always was. He kept living and enjoying what he could (including pizza). He practiced law, until he could no more. He read, until he could no more. He drew, until he could no more. He worked outside, until he could no more. He talked wines, until he could no more. He attended gatherings, until he could no more. He dusted, until he could no more. He told stories, until he could no more. As each chapter closed, he just kept going and staying positive. He was truly something special.
Terry lived with the inconvenience of brain cancer, but never let it take away from his ability to be caring and friendly. A few months ago, he and Jane were sharing detailed stories of their sons Brendan and Michael. I was in complete awe! Despite the obvious inconvenience that the brain tumor had on his memory and even his ability to finish a sentence, he had no problem sharing stories about his sons with deep pride. He spoke from his heart.
While driving home from that visit, I got lost in my thoughts…. I wondered if I would ever see Terry again. I wondered why we were blessed with any time with him at all since his prognosis nearly 5 years ago. I wondered what God’s plan was. As a matter of fact, I wondered so hard that I didn’t realize the speed limit dropped down and the flashing lights from the nice police officer woke me from my wondering. I digress, but that’s something Terry taught me 🙂 .
Today, I realize that God did have a plan. Through Terry, I have learned that we have to live life to its fullest, despite challenges and inconveniences. Given the rough times our nation is facing right now, I believe we were gifted with extra time with him to learn that we can overcome challenges if we are careful, steadfast and stay focused on who and what we love and that it is ok to move from one chapter to another.
We are all truly blessed to have shared a passion for children and families with a man as special as Terry Gaffney. Sending my love and condolences to the Gaffney Family and to those from our Museum Family that knew and loved him too.
Stay safe and play on!
Special note about Terry’s service to the Children’s Museum:
Terry served our organization in many ways from 2003 – 2015, as a founding board member, legal counsel, greeter at family events, and “assistant” to Jane as she prepared projects for children to enjoy. From bylaws to trademarks to leases, he donated countless hours of legal service that have resulted in millions of happy childhood memories. He celebrated the Children’s Museum and what it means to families each year by attending our annual Young At Heart gala, and was honored alongside fellow board member, Rose Ahern, as “Friends of the Museum” in 2016. He left an impact on our organization that will be remembered forever and will be honored with a “Shining Star” at the Museum.