Nine years ago one of my dearest friends, Paula, died after a 2-year battle with cancer. She left four devastated children and a grieving husband.
Four years ago today my firstborn son, Joey, married the love of his life, Jamie.
Today, these two anniversaries come together and form a stong connection in my heart.
When I think of Paula and her ordeal with cancer I think of the day she called me to tell me she was dying. She gave me all of the details, drawing out the events of the past months and the search for medical answers until she came to the horrible conclusion. She had cancer, everywhere. She had it in her ribs, her spine, her pelvis, and her brain. There was no escaping its invasion, only efforts to delay its final victory, trying to buy time with and for her family.
The day she called me was clear and sunny but it suddenly looked bleak, physically dark and bleak. I could see the sun and the blue sky with my eyes, but not with my heart. My mind and my stomach just stood still--one thought, no appetite. All I could think about was my friend, and her life ending, and leaving her children. I walked through my day in a fog, going through the motions, doing what had to be done but my mind was only on Paula. I specifically remember walking through the Shopko parking lot and seeing people talking, laughing, and going about their day. I remember thinking how very strange it was that the world was going on as if nothing was wrong, as if Paula wasn't dying. I didn't feel like a part of the world.
This year, on this day, my mind is in the same surreal state. The days are going on and the activities buzz and my children laugh and ask me questions. I do what I need to do--cook, clean, teach, get to appointments--writing out lists to keep me focused and on task. But my mind is with Joey and Jamie. I am in continual prayer. All of my thoughts hold of piece of them. So much is known, but so much is unknown. My faith feels large, all of it is God's gift, lifting up my spirit as well as my prayers. I keep thinking, "Faith is the presence of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." So much is not seen, and so much is hoped for.
Joey said in his blog post today that they have a name picked for their baby which they will reveal today when they learn if she is indeed a girl. I am looking forward to putting a name to all of this love and hope.