So Dug's traveling this week. He's in Philadelphia. He's so happy because he gets to try an "authentic Philly Cheese Steak sandwich," from Philly!
My problem is that when he travels I have a hard time going to bed. I will get ready for bed, brush my teeth, check the doors, tuck in the sleeping kids, then sit on the bed and procrastinate by reading, cleaning, whatever. The act of laying down, by myself, and turning out the light is almost impossible for me. I stay up until 2 and 3 am postponing the inevitable. That is Stupid Things to Do #4535. What idiot mother stays up into the wee hours of the morning when her children are going to wake up at 7:30am no matter what? (Hint: she's the one who wrote this post.) Last night I went a step further. I stayed up making cupcakes and blogging, got ready for bed and finally laid down. The headboard of our bed is a small book shelf. Yep, you guessed it. I turned around and looked at the books. You can see where this is going right? Wrong. It's worse than you can possibly imagine.
Any wife who has had her husband gone overnight has worried about him not returning. Plane crashing, car crashing, whatever. It's a woman-thing. I think it's the main reason for my avoidance of going to bed. The bed is the loneliest place in the whole house. It's the one place where I go and, on a normal day, find myself alone. In the kitchen I will prepare meals alone. On the computer, I am usually doing something quasi-by myself. In the bathroom, I can lock myself in and at least have no one in the room, albeit they are usually yelling something through the door during my "private times." But in the bed, I'm always accompanied by Dug. It's a place where I am never alone...except when he's traveling. When I go to bed alone, it's the spot where I most vividly imagine him being gone forever. Back to last night...
What did I do? I grabbed this book called City of Refuge. It is a collection of stories about God changing lives compiled by a church in White City, Oregon. We have it because one of the women featured in it was a friend of mine. More accurately, her parents are two of my parents' oldest and dearest friends. What's the big deal, you ask. Only this. She died of cancer in 2003. The story is her struggle with, and ultimately, loss to that disease. I knew it going in, and I did it anyway.
Becky's story is sad, yet beautiful and encouraging. She was diagnosed when she was 28 years old. Three years younger than I am now. She was married with three young children and had three sisters with whom she was close, and one niece that was more like a fourth sister. The book tells of her impact on other people and the amount of love she had to give. It's about her courage and compassion that touched everyone around her and how her faith was her strength.
Perhaps the most poignant part was when she said, in a letter to her husband, "I would never give up what we had together, our lives and our children, even if it meant not having cancer. I would rather be fighting cancer alongside you than to be perfectly healthy and not have you in my life." She goes on to talk about life after her diagnosis, "I was so wrapped up in every day life...that I didn't take the time to really step back and ask what was important. Now that I'm sick, I get to spend so much more time with people...I wonder now if that's how it was supposed to be all along. Now I feel more alive."
Everytime her dad asked her how she was, she always responded, "Dad, I'm not giving up." Those were her last words. The last time he asked, she said the same thing, "Dad, I'm not giving up." and then slipped into a coma. She fought. She fought hard. But for some reason God decided that it was her time to be with Him.
While she was battling, she received a prophetic word that thousands would be touched by her story. Her family assumed it would be her victory over cancer. A short time after she died, they were approached about her story being included in the book and at that moment they knew, at least in part, what her struggle was for. They knew it was the story of her enduring spirit, complete reliance on Jesus and outflow of love during her fight that would be the inspiration to others.
I've had that book since last year. Last night was the first time I read it.
You can see what happened now, can't you? I finished the story about 2:30am. Then I cried for thirty minutes or so, because emotions are always more volatile at night and even moreso when you are freaking exhausted! I cried because Becky died and her parents had to witness the death of their child. I cried because I could die and leave my children and husband. I cried because my dad would be sad if I died. I cried because...well, I think you get the picture. But it doesn't stop there. I then had horrible dreams of my children drowning in frozen ponds. And when I woke up, I couldn't get back to sleep. It was a loooong night.
And that, dear readers, is Stupid Things to Do #4536. Do not, I repeat, do not read the powerful and heart-wrenching story of a family friend who succumbs to cancer after a valiant fight at 2am in the morning while your husband is traveling out of town.
Unless you don't want to get any sleep and you want to wake up with your eyes feeling like someone implanted Angelina Jolie's lips under your lids by mistake. If that's the case, by all means, go ahead.