Husband instilled in his family a love of reading aloud at bedtime - Catholic Courier
Ed Rivera with sons, Sean and Jordan. (Photo courtesy Leonor Rivera) Ed Rivera with sons, Sean and Jordan. (Photo courtesy Leonor Rivera)

Husband instilled in his family a love of reading aloud at bedtime

My late husband, Ed, and I grew up bilingual. We spoke Spanish at home and English in school. After learning to read in English, I fell in love with books. Ed also loved reading.

In college, textbooks were expensive. Ed and I shared books. We saw each other often to exchange books and to study together.

Just days after our first son was born, Ed read the book Peter Rabbit to him. Our baby son listened to Ed’s deep voice and was mesmerized. Ed kept reading to him and continued reading to both boys after our second son was born. Going to the library became a regular fun family outing.

Ed read all the Harry Potter books to the boys out loud. Ed changed voices for the different characters and dramatically acted out the parts. The boys squealed with delight. They hid under the covers for the scary parts. Ed was an amazing dad.

Jordan and Sean Rivera. (Photo courtesy of Leonor Rivera)

After the boys left for college, the bedtime stories stopped. Ed kept reading his books to himself. I asked Ed if he would read my favorite books out loud to me at bedtime. He said OK. I loved hearing his deep, sultry voice as I drifted off. After I fell asleep, he put the book away, turned off the lights, kissed me goodnight and cuddled me. Going to sleep like that was a little piece of heaven on earth.

Last year, I gave our grown sons children’s books about the town we raised them in. The books highlighted the library we visited frequently. As our sons read the books out loud, I could hear my husband’s voice in their deep voices. My heart filled with joy. The love of reading continues. A comforting and inspiring gift their dad left for them and for me.


Leonor “Leo” and Ed Rivera were members of the local Worldwide Marriage Encounter community for 32 of their 34 years of marriage until Ed unexpectedly died of a genetic heart defect on Aug. 1, 2020.

The 2024 Worldwide Marriage Encounter Weekends are Feb. 23-25 and Nov. 15-17, 2024. All weekends take place at Notre Dame Retreat House in Canandaigua.

To read more of Leo and Ed’s blogs, visit

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