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.
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 you. Welcome 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.