I am so sad today.
I have much to be joyous about - my shower was finally finished, my house is clean, my birthday was yesterday, I still have cake left over, I have friends, I have a wonderful family.
But I can not shake my grief.
This summer, my little family and I flew to California for a number of reasons. I initiated the trip because my sorority was having a little reunion. In Bakersfield. And it was good. And on the way back to San Dimas (where Rick and Elizabeth were staying) I stopped in Ventura and visited my cousin Bill and his wife Marilyn. I hadn't seen Marilyn since my father's funeral in 2004. And even longer since I'd seen Bill. And this visit wasn't planned, it just sort of happened.
But what a nice visit. And I mean that. It was so good to be "home." And their home is darn close to the only thing that I have left of my childhood. My parents are gone, my brother is gone, my best friend is gone and except for a few relatives sprinkled here and there throughout the United States, I don't have very many people left who knew me as a kid.
I intended to only visit with Bill and Marilyn for a few moments but time marched forward and soon it was dark and I really did need to get on the road. But I was happy that I had found my way to their house. A house that I knew as a kid. And kind, kind people that I really like.
Today I got the news that Bill passed away. And I can barely breathe.
God was so awesome to direct me to them this summer, on my way back from Bakersfield and Santa Maria. And it was such a blessing to visit with them. I totally enjoyed my visit.
Bill had a wonderful wit and he was an awesome man. He, like Rick, lived a very unusual life. Filled with medical procedures that would drive anyone crazy. Yet he never faltered and never gave up. And he set a fine example for anyone and everyone. An example of how to be a positive person in the midst of unbelieveable struggles. Bill knew the ins and outs of dialysis. And although it was part of his almost daily ritual, I never even thought about it. Because Bill was Bill. Kidney problems or not, Bill was Bill. And on my last visit with him, I realized that you really could forget his struggles.
Marilyn told me today that "we had Bill for 30 years "on borrowed time".
She also added, "What Bill and Rick had in common was the motivation to be here for their loving family and not give up on raising our precious daughters. And their love for us, is stronger than a fear of dying. All the love of family and loving support, not to mention God's grace, has kept them going. God's grace is stronger than any medical predictions."
Marilyn has asked, "Please keep us in your prayers." And on that note, I'm sending out a plea for just that.
I know in Marilyn's shoes, I'd be asking for that exact same thing.
Thank you, everyone.