Thanks for all your words Monday.  We paid the bill, I called Stephanie, and life is starting to shake out again.  Let me now tell you a bit of the other story… it will help you to re-focus, I think.  To put some things in perspective.  

While on vacation, we learned that Natalie’s sister (Sam) had lost her husband.  Quite literally.  He and a friend drowned while saving another… but he had not been found.  Nathan was only 30 and the father of 4 children.  Sam is 27… and obviously in the fight of her emotional-life right now. Nathan was recovered a day later and the funeral was the 4th of July.  What complicates the story is that Natalie is extremely pregnant.  Overdue, even.  She cannot travel to be with her family.  She cannot mourn with her sister, she cannot help with arrangements.  She can only be pregnant. 

And then my ridiculously small part of the story… stuck in the torrential rain of the Adirondacks, catching messages in and out of pockets of cell phone service, and wanting so badly to just help.  To be the calm one, one-step removed, helping.  Baking, driving, making phone calls… anything.  I stood there stunned on the side of the highway holding the news and my child and a sandwich.  It was a little surreal.  What do you say to a family- a friend- who is living your greatest fear?  I’ve honestly no idea.  It spurred an emotional discussion between me and Curt… about priorities and family and living simply.  A re-dedication, some apologies, some difficult truths.  For all of that, I am thankful.

The local and church community around the Junker family has been incredible… and there is hope in kindness.  Life insurance has paid off their mortgage and college loans. They will start this new phase of life debt-free.    It is a small victory in light of losing a spouse and father, but we celebrate it wildly.  We will celebrate every small thing loudly and joyfully.

urban nathanael

At the other end of the spectrum, I am thrilled to tell you that yesterday morning (Wednesday, 7/8/09) Mitch and Natalie finally welcomed Urban Nathanael Mulder (Urbie) into the world. He is the first Mulder grandSON in a sea of 6 granddaughters.  I pray that the joy of his birth culls some this past week’s horror.  May he usher in a wave of healing and smiles, as children often do.  Grow, Little Man, and be strong.  We like you. And, we celebrate youWelcome to the family.

For you completely lost in this:  Mitch is Curt’s younger brother.  Natalie is his wife and one of my best friends.  They have a little girl, Ava, who is 6 months younger than Rylie.  They live in Muskegon, about an hour away from us.  This is too far, I feel, but I am not in charge.

About texasnorth

TexasNorth is a little farm in Western Michigan. It's home to 5 chickens, 25 longhorn cattle, a coonhound (Banjo), 1 barn cat, a husband, and 3 ridiculously funny children. The mom of this zoo has been known to mow the lawn in a skirt and roast marshmallows after dark. View all posts by texasnorth

11 responses to “breathe

  • Jim

    Your thoughts and prayers for your friends were heard I am sure. Your voice is loud, and we are thankful.

  • Becky

    Oh my goodness! Oh Sam, I will keep her in my prayers, and all of that family, thank you for sharing
    I cannot even imagine.
    Praying praying praying
    “Blessed are those that mourn for they shall be comforted” God has comfort beyond our wildest dreams ready to give these dear people

  • jtp

    oh the baby is gorgeous! thanks for sharing this story- Sam is lucky to have such a great friend in you….

  • Susannah

    i woke up this morning with a huge list of things to accomplish before the baby got up. and as i was wolfing down my breakfast, i read this entry. and then read it again. what a powerful reminder of the things that matter. i will pray for strength and courage for all of you. and the grace to be able to grieve and rejoice at the same time.

    we are not our own, but belong.

  • Carley

    Oh my word. That is just an unreal story. I will be praying for all of you and your families.
    On a happy note, that is one very cute little boy. LOVE the name. Congrats to your family on the birth of Urban!

  • wende

    Welcome to the world, Urban! What a name and what an arrival—I see big things in his future.

    And for you, missy, I’ll just repeat myself, “Hugs”.

  • heather

    what a heart wrenching story. i have this woman who i don’t even know, in my thoughts and prayers. she will emerge such a stronger person after some time passes. life can hurt so bad sometimes…

  • pom pom

    Hi Katie,
    I had coffee with Elly Conant this morning and we were talking about blogging (I’m loving it as of late) and she told me about YOUR blog, so I had to connect! I’m so sorry to read this post’s sadness though and my heart goes out to the family. I’m excited to get to know you through your great blog!

  • annie

    this is all so hard. i will pray for natalie’s sister Sam, i can’t imagine how she’s feeling. so glad that sweet baby has been born to relieve some of the pain. you are right, babies do have a natural way of bringing healing.
    kaite you are a warrior more than you know, even if you can’t “do” anything.

  • Margie

    I just got caught up on this, and can only say how sorry I am. I’m saying a prayer now, even though it’s late.

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