Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Five People

Many years before you were born Mommy read the book The Five People You Meet in Heaven.  The big lesson Mommy got from the book was, while you may not realize it at the time, people are placed in your life at certain times and for certain purposes.  It's not until you get to Heaven that you discover the true purpose.  Events that may have seemed insignificant at the time, can sometimes have big effects on us later on.  For someone who doesn't read books often (outside the realm of my second grade classroom :), this book was one Mommy couldn't put down.

August of 2003 is when Mommy and her started working together.  We were both graduate assistants in the College of Education at EKU.  We worked together everyday, just about.  Our favorite part of our day was eating lunch at Powell.  That's where we had some of our best conversations.  That's when we talked about things that really mattered.  That's where she shared about her mom.

Several years before we had met she had lost her mom to breast cancer.  It was easy to see how much she missed her mom and how not having her mom deeply impacted her ability to experience complete joy in life's biggest events - her wedding, graduation, first job- and the small things too. Watching and listening, she reminded me how precious and irreplaceable the mother-daughter relationship is.

She also talked about God.  She talked about her faith.  She talked about Heaven.  We prayed together and became very close friends. Three years later Mommy asked her to be a bridesmaid in Mommy and Daddy's wedding.

Fast forward...

July of 2009 is when Mommy first met her.  Mommy had started a new teaching position in kindergarten.  She was several years older and her children were older too. One a teenager, the other in middle school.  Mommy and her hit it off right away.

It happened just a week before school was to begin.  Her son and his close friend had been involved in an accident.  Her son turned out to be ok, but his best friend had passed away.  This tragic event devastated so many people, especially her son.

That year was tough for her. Many Thursdays we spent working late on the next week's plans.  During these late nights we would talk about things -our kids, our pasts, our families, the tragedy.  Mommy did a lot of talking (imagine that :) and even more listening. That year we got to know each other very well.  

We were both new to kindergarten so we worked closely together every day.  Our classrooms were even joined together, our desks just a few feet away.  She loved teaching and she loved having you visit our classrooms.  You had a way of livening up our days.

The next summer tragedy struck Mommy's life.  That's when you passed away.  The whole next year she did the listening and often lent Mommy a shoulder to cry on.  Her, along with Mommy's teaching assistant, provided the strength, encouragement, and laughter Mommy needed to get through the day to day.

As time moved forward, so did Mommy's teaching partner.  The next summer Mommy found herself working with a new partner.  Fresh from Fayette County and with several years of kindergarten teaching experience under her belt, Mommy was happy to be able to learn from someone new.  It was also exciting for Mommy since this new partner also had a baby about the same age as Layne.  Having this new friend with so much in common was just what Mommy needed.

Over the next two years Mommy and this new friend got to know one another really well.  Even Layne and her son had become good buddies too.  Dates to Chickfila turned into invites to birthday parties and after school playdates at the park. As time went on we became each other's rock when strength was what we needed.  She listened when Mommy wanted to talk about you, and I listened when she wanted to talk about things private to her.

Just when Mommy's life was beginning to look up, and as we were about to start exciting new jobs together at a brand new school, the most devastating news imaginable was given to her family.  Her husband, just 34, was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.  Surgeries, chemo, tests, scans.  Grief, sadness, lost hope, overwhelming anxiety.  Over the past two years Mommy has walked alongside her.   To talk, to listen, to just be a friend who understands a little about grief.

Just a few weeks ago she was given the unbelievable news that her husband has

just three to six months to live.  Last weekend her husband was baptized.

As Mommy thinks about that book...Mommy thinks about people like Sarah and Debbie and Jessica. Mommy thinks about my life path and the paths of all those others who just so happened to collide with mine. Coincidence? I think not. God must have known how much we would need one another at different points.

And that's just three.  Mommy wonders about those I have yet to meet. Perhaps it will all make sense one day when we meet in Heaven.

Until you, miss you, think of you every single day sweet Kaden Layne...