Sunday, September 20, 2015

Birthdays 2015

So I contemplated a Facebook post, but truly, to share how the Lord showed up for me this year on my birthday was just too much for a single Facebook post, so here I am back on my blog to document this story for posterity. 

As most of my readers know, my beloved husband, Tom, met the Lord this past summer on July 8, 2015, after a short and aggressive battle with Cancer. 

There are no adequate words to describe the hole that has been left in our lives, so I'm not even going to try that right now. 
He was truly the backbone of our family and we miss him desperately. 

We are learning how to move forward; how to function day to day and how to embrace life's special milestones without him here. 

So far, we've celebrated Connor's 16th birthday,

 Colin's 18th birthday, 

both very special milestones, and most recently, my birthday. 

Of course, I did everything in my power to make the boys' days special and to ensure that they had fun with friends and felt loved. That was relatively easy, especially with the help of so many amazing friends. 

But, what does one do for yourself? How do you make your own day a special one? 
Honestly, you don't. 
You can't. 
When the one you love most will never again say, "Happy Birthday Sweetie", what's the point? 

I was fully prepared for this day to come and go with little to no fanfare and to make "my day" something that used to be. 

Well, apparently, this was not the Lord's plan! 

A few weeks prior to my birthday, a dear friend invited the boys and I to her home for dinner. I was somewhat relieved that I at least had some plans for the evening and would be distracted by sweet friends. 

Colin agreed to ask off from work that night so that all my kids could be with me. 

I was happy with that plan. 

But, there was much more going on in the background than I knew. 

First, "dinner" with friends, turned into a wonderful surprise party! 

Not a huge, overwhelming, crazy affair, just enough wonderful friends that I felt loved and was able to spend quality time in conversation with each of them. 

OK, perhaps there was SOME silliness...
Even the boys had some great friends attend and had a ball! 

It was perfect. 

Then, there was the dessert. 
I have to tell you the story of this dessert.

Our oldest, Colin, got it into his head that he was going to create a special birthday "cake" for me. 
By himself. 

With some help from a precious neighbor, he spent two afternoons at their home working diligently on this ice cream cake. 

He spent half of his first paycheck buying all the special ingredients for this cake. 

He created, from "scratch", this frozen treat that had ice cream sandwiches, ice cream (my favorite, Mocha Almond Fudge), blueberries, raspberries, whipped cream.... 

He even learned how to pipe his own words on top! 


Clearly, the ride from house 1 to house 2, in the Charleston heat, did a little something to the overall appearance, but Mom didn't care! 

This was no ordinary ice cream cake! 
It was made with a lot of love and was, until the next day anyway, my absolute favorite present!
(I'll get to that later)

Tom would have been so incredibly proud of him for sacrificing so much time and money to do this for his mom. 

We took silly pictures, played a fun game and just laughed a lot. Tom most certainly would have approved. 

What came next though, the following day, was the biggest surprise of all.

I had received a text from Tom's daughter a few days ago letting me know that I would be receiving a small package. I honestly didn't give it much thought except that she wanted me to call her before I opened it. 
I thought perhaps she had found some photos that she wanted to share with me. I never in a million years would have guessed what was actually behind this package.

Saturday afternoon, she called and asked me to open the envelope. I saw a Stella & Dot box inside. 

Before I opened that, Krisha began to share with me a story about the first night she spent the night with Tom after he became ill. It was toward the end of June and I remember it clearly as it was the first night in almost a month that I slept in my own bed instead of the sofa or a hospital chair. She stayed with him all night and I slept through the night for the first time in weeks. 

She went on to share that Tom was restless that night and was watching TV around 2 am. She was flipping through her new Stella and Dot catalog to pass the time. 

It was then that Tom told his daughter that he was going to die in July. He knew that it wouldn't be much longer. He was trying to prepare her. He also shared his regret that he wouldn't be able to celebrate all the family milestones that were right around the corner, most notably, our birthdays. 

Krisha handed her Dad the jewelry catalog and told him that if he chose a special birthday gift for me that she would make sure that I received it. Of course, hearing this from her first hand, there were tears streaming down my face. 

It was then that she invited me to open the box. 

Inside, was a necklace with three small charms. 
The Letter 'T', which she explained stood for Tom and Tommy.

The Letter 'C' which was to remind me of Christ and our 4 "C" boys: 
Colin, Connor, Cameron and Cooper. 

Lastly, the pendent in the middle with the word "blessed" inscribed. 

This birthday gift, sent with love from my dear husband, could not have been any more perfect. And there is no way to really thank Krisha for her willingness to honor her father in doing this for him. I know that he is so proud of her and smiling down from heaven knowing that she was making all of this happen. 

He knew it would be a hard day to be alone. 

He knew that I would not be expecting anything.

And he wanted me to know that he still loves me. 

And this man, while he was good at many, many things, first and foremost knew how to love others well. 

Whether you were his wife, his child, a lifelong friend, or a passing acquaintance, you were special to him and he made sure you knew it. 

Leave it to Tom to take my breath away even after he is gone. 

Thank you both!
Krisha and her Dad