The past few months have been extraordinarily difficult for our modern blended family. My daughter’s father, my ex-husband, has been battling throat cancer for over a year, and just before Thanksgiving we learned that it had become untreatable. Tragically, Mark passed away last Tuesday evening.
It has been unbearably sad to see Mark’s wife, Jocelyn, lose her husband; to see his parents, Sue and Dan, lose their son; to see his brother, Brent, lose his only sibling; and to see my 15-year old, Sophie, lose her dad. As her mother, I am in unchartered waters as I struggle awkwardly to help her cope. In turn, my family and friends have turned themselves inside out to support me as I try to support her.
Their love and friendship has been abundant, boundless, humbling. Quite literally we have been buoyed by friends and family every step of this journey.
Words fail to express how much I love and appreciate my incredibly strong husband, Tom, who hasn’t missed a step with me throughout all of this. And my parents who jetted in at the blink of an eye to cover Sophie up with love. Not to mention Jocelyn’s family and friends who have made us feel welcome in her home as we have camped out there lately in order to support Sophie and Jocelyn collectively.
And my friends! I treasure every single email, text, facebook message, note, and phone call. I am especially grateful for all the prayers. And the much needed laughs. I am grateful for the friends that dropped by to hug Sophie this week. For the stunning flowers and the linen handkerchiefs and the organic sleep spray and the cookies and the edible arrangements and the pasta dinners and the prayer quilt and the special treat for Sophie in that ever-so-fun blue Tiffany bag. For the girlfriend that cashed in airline miles to be here for the service and the one who snagged an overnight sitter and braved I35 to drive in late Saturday evening. I am grateful for the friend who texted me after the memorial service to say, “Sophie did great. You my friend, rocked the pantsuit.”
Bottom line, you gotta love a good Show-Up Girlfriend.
And Sophie had them too! Some of her camp friends arrived from Houston to surprise her on Saturday night, providing a much needed evening of laughter before a very big, hard day that followed.
Yesterday was the memorial service which was a beautiful tribute to Mark’s larger than life personality, his sense of humor, and most recently, the unmatched dignity with which he fought cancer. There was a reception immediately afterwards, and the highlight was seeing Sophie surrounded by her teenage friends. She had friends from her elementary school days, middle school, and high school. Friends from summer camp whose moms had driven them from Waco and Houston. Her former youth group leader traveled from Dallas. Her lacrosse coach made time to be there. Her summer camp directors came.
It’s inspiring! Rest assured that this mother will never, and I mean never, forget every single gesture of love and kindness that has been expressed to Sophie during this sad experience. You all have kept us afloat.
“The friend in my adversity I shall always cherish most. I can better trust those who have helped to relieve the gloom of my dark hours than those who are so ready to enjoy with me the sunshine of my prosperity.” –Ulysses S. Grant
“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” –Albert Schweitzer
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace. 1 Peter 4:8-10