They were so excited when they found out she was pregnant. Newly married and full of hope and youth in their late teens.
She was born through a very difficult and long delivery… born breach (rear end first) and blue, but healthy with a head full of thick black hair.
He remembers holding her head in one hand and her legs supported by his arm and singing songs to her in the middle of the night as she fell asleep.
He felt overwhelmed that she was so small and helpless, dependent on him for her life, food, love, nurturing, and protection.
How could he ever manage to do all those things right?
He remembers coming home from work and walking in the door and seeing and hearing all his children running to the door to squealing “Daaaaddy ”. She was the oldest and the quicker of her siblings and she was usually the first one to give him a hug.
They struggled to keep food on the table…but he had hoped that they felt loved and cared for. She grew up in a rural area but not so far away that a few hours drive would take them to their grandparents and cousins.
He remembers her as quiet, reserved and a little self-depreciating … with big blue eyes that seemed at times to catch a glimpse into your soul.
She gave him three beautiful grandchildren…their last child (conceived in the beginning of her chemo treatment for Lymphoma)…was named Jackson…a healthy boy who looks just like his Dad.
She fought…she fought long and hard and courageously. She told him that all she wanted now was just to live long enough to raise her children and see them grow up. How our perspective can change when death is knocking on our door. That knock changes your whole life. It quickly removes all that really doesn’t matter and it leaves behind the most important things we have in life.
He wished he could have taken her place and allowed her to receive her dream. He would gladly have gone through the pain, the chemo, the bone marrow transplant, the radiation, the loss of hair and weight so she could see her wish come true. He wanted to fight her fight. He felt helpless and impotent as he watched her slowly lose this brave battle for her life.
Her husband called him and said “you had better come quickly”. He knew what that meant.
He stood at the side of her bed and rubbed her left leg. He prayed at her bedside asking the Lord to heal her and let her to live. The Lord just had to know how precious she was to him and her family. Her Mom and Step-Dad, sisters and brother, other family members were present with her as well. He has seen this many times before as he worked in a hospital… but nothing could have prepared him for this.
She was unresponsive. He thought she probably would be.
She struggled to so hard to breathe. He expected to see that.
She was placed on the ventilator to breathe, keeping her alive. He wasn’t surprised she needed it. He also knew when they would take her off the ventilator she would quickly go.
All the words he shared with her earlier now seemed too few and infrequent. Although he told her before he longed to tell her again how proud he was of her, the woman and mother she had become, and how much he loved her. He wanted to connect with her one more time…to hear her voice, to see her smile at him…to hear her call him “Dad” just one more time, and to hear her say “I love you too”.
She quietly slipped away as he gently rubbed her leg. It seemed to take forever and yet it happened so quickly.
Her dream never came true. His prayers were never answered.
He expected to feel pain and overwhelmed with bitter grief.
Instead all he felt was anger, confusion, a heavy numbness and then relief as he realized her struggles and pain were finally over.
Then the questions came…still coming… how can this happen to a mother with three small children? How can her husband raise these precious children all by himself?
Where was his God in all this? He felt like David did when he wrote in Ps 88:9″ …I am almost blind because of my sorrow”
He began writing to work out the grief and confusion. Perhaps blogging about her death would bring him some answers, comfort, healing and closure.
As he writes and as you read this…may the understanding and answers and comfort gently arrive from his Lord. “Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you” I peter 5:7
His tears are still yet to come.
The day this was published (Oct 10th) would have been my daughter Becky’s 40th birthday. She died February 17 of this year. These are actual pictures of her and her family.