My wife is 41 years young, and she keeps our house running smoothly, especially in conjunction with our three kiddos: 7-year-old twinlets Leo and Ella, and 6-year-old Jordan. Recently, I had the responsibility of the kid’s dinner, bath-and-bedtime routine all to myself because my wife was having a sleepover. That’s right, an adult sleepover.
Six women, between 40 and 55, had a pajama party at their friend’s house to celebrate her 45th birthday. I am told they stayed up too late, giggled, laughed and reminisced about the years gone by, the aging of their kids and the dreams they had for them. It was a privilege to do my part to allow the ladies their sleepover because the occasion was very special.
Eight days later, early on a Saturday morning, my wife rolled over in bed and read to me the text that had just woken her up.
It read, “Our birthday girl died peacefully an hour ago in her bed at home, her 3 year battle with glioblastoma brain cancer is finally over.”
After texting the news to each of the women who had been at the sleepover, I held Kate as she cried herself back to sleep. I was.....
The blank space above is not a graphical mistake. Instead, it’s the best I can do to describe what it felt like the whole next week.
In a God ordained scheduling dynamic that same Saturday, we hosted our youngest daughter’s 6th birthday party at the local country club swimming pool, in attendance were the 7-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son who had lost their mom that morning.
Kate hugged and was hugged often throughout her hostess duties for Jordan’s party. I posted watch over the now motherless three-year old boy who couldn’t yet swim. I stood in the water as he walked off the side of the pool deck with a spontaneity and recklessness that I marveled at. He had no idea the gravity this day would have for the rest of his life.
I am still feeling the blank space, as the life celebration gets planned and as Kate begins to undertake her role as executor of the will and helping the family orchestrate a new normalness for the kids for the coming school year. Nothing seems right about what happened. But everything just keeps on moving, despite the numbness.
I told Kate how I remember when she first told me she met the mom of one of Ella’s friends from school and really liked her. That was 4 years ago. A year later Kate shared that she felt it was God putting them together through the glioblastoma journey because she had walked the same path with her father just 5 years earlier. It is true, God does do stuff like that.
I said, “I really liked her.” And I caught myself. Why did I use the past tense to describe my feelings? I still do like her, even though she is no longer with us physically. My feelings are still present tense, aren’t they?
Tears run down my face as I am typing, but I am not crying, at least it doesn’t feel like I am... If I am crying, why? I don’t know. My own leukemia moderates my days more and more recently. I don’t feel right, in my heart, my mind or my body. Confusion and unsettledness feel like the constants.
I hope this numbness wears off soon. I have a wife, six kiddos, and a grandson to grow old with.
Amen and amen.