Friday, June 26, 2009

And the world goes around....

Here I am again - motivated by grief to try to put into words what I'm feeling-and knowing I'm rather inadequate to the task. Yesterday my husband and I learned that a very dear friend of his had passed away quite unexpectedly. We are still in shock. Don was young - only 48 years old-yet that meant nothing when he suffered a heart attack on June 24th. He was a single father of a beautiful 15-year-old daughter. They seemed to be very close. I can only image the pain of her loss.

After time and distance had separated Don and Terry, they reconnected a couple of years ago through the internet. When I made the leap into the Facebook community he was the first friend to welcome me. After that he was a constant source of laughter as I'd read his updates and comments to other friends. It was evident he loved life, he loved God, he loved his daughter and he lived each day to it's fullest. As my husband and I clung to each other in grief I said it felt rather strange for me to be crying over someone I'd never met in person myself. Yet Don meant a lot to my very best friend. That gave him an initial IN with me. And Don came to mean a lot to me through the encouragement he shared on the internet. Terry and I had hoped to be able to travel to Texas to visit with Don and Laura in person - someday. Oh, how cliche, how said, that our someday is not meant to happen on this earth. I just know that Heaven has to be a brighter place now that Don is there.

In the midst of this I was thrown on the other end of the emotional roller-coaster by my very soon-to-be 5-year-old daughter. That afternoon we had gone to the store and picked out treats for her to take to her preschool class to celebrate her birthday. If you don't have any young children in your life to share joyful occasions with like turning 5-years-old, I recommend you go make friends with one right now. There was something indescribable in her joy in picking out the perfect treat. She chose "those blueberry cupcakes we make at home, Mommy." I had to think a few minutes before I translated that into being the blueberry muffins we like to make for breakfast. Okay - it is her party after all. The discussion on what to drink was interesting as well. I suggested taking Ginger Ale and some cherries to make Shirley Temples. She was instant on choosing pink lemonade and "green" lemonade. Now to me the liter bottle she pointing to looked liked it held yellow lemonade, but my very opinionated daughter was certain it was green. I have learned through the experience of raising three strong-minded daugthers that there are some arguments not worth pursuing. I managed to get through choosing plates and napkins without too much conflict, by pulling the "I'm the Mommy - we're getting these or not getting any-card." I had to make sure we had enough for 20 kids. If only our budget would allow for the more expensive packet of 8 plates (x3 to have enough for 20 kids) with Disney princesses.

The best scene was driving her to preschool this morning. She had insisted on having all the birthday paraphernalia placed on the seat next to her. The muffins traveled in a box on the floor at her feet. Half-way there I heard her excited voice say, "Look at me, Mommy!" Glancing in the rear-review mirror I had to smile. She was enthroned on her carseat and had piled all of the plates, napkins, and liters of lemonade onto her lap and was holding them with a huge grin on her face. "My friends are going to love my treats!!" I was so tickled at her joy in sharing with her classmates. It didn't matter that she wasn't receiving any presents at this party. This was her opportunity to give to her friends and her joy was contagious.

As I left her at school I said a quick prayer of thanks to God for the amazing gift that my daughter is in my life. And I said another prayer of thanks for the gift that Don had been-even if only for a short time. My life would be so much less with having experienced either one.