Friday, October 10, 2008


On the drive in to the hospital, it was still dark, and I was lost in my own thoughts, Tim's cell phone rang. It was Stacey calling from Korea. She was full of excitement at her new post, and she and Tim chattered away. She was surprised that we were headed back to the surgery, and asked to speak with me. I was glad for the chance because, days before, I had bungled it. Big time.
Before she left, Tim told her, even though we hadn't told anyone else. We didn't know anything for sure, and were hesitating to get too dramatic about things, but Tim wanted her to know that she needed to stay in touch. Broken marriages leave their mark on our children, I'm sorry to say, and Stacey has been no exception. She and Tim went months without seeing each other, or calling each other on the phone. He was very bitter about his ex-wife's anger, and how that affected his two children, but really, it's as much his fault as his ex's. He certainly didn't work very hard to fix things, but as previously reported, he's quiet, and his tendency is that when he doesn't know what to do or to say, basically he says or does nothing at all. We've talked about this through the years, but I couldn't fix that for him. I was the step-mom.
Anyways, Stacey has been good about staying in touch. She bought phone cards, and through these past two weeks, she has called home. I know that has been a great comfort to Tim, and it makes me glad to see that rift being bridged. So I was glad. On one of the phone calls, she had asked to speak with me. It was the day that I had had my emotional phone conversation with Dylan. Cara had fallen apart a bit as well, so I was a bit overwhelmed. We talked about Korea, and my memories, and her impressions, and then the conversation began to drag. Awkwardly, she asked, "How are you doing?" "Good," I responded automatically. And her voice cracked when she said that she was sorry to hear. I assured her that it would be okay, but didn't know what else to say, so I gave the phone back to Tim. I felt terrible about it for the rest of the day. The girl was grieving too, and far from home, and I felt that my comforting had been inadequate and perfunctory.
So I jumped a little when the cell phone rang. Who would be calling at that time of the morning, but it was Stacey from across the world, and our morning was her night. After Tim handed me the phone, she asked how I was doing. She was concerned about how Cara was taking it. I told her about the 'celebrate' card, and she said, "Aw. She's so wise. It's hard to think of her as grown up, and wise. I always think of her as a little kid instead of a college girl." "Me, too, sometimes," I allowed. And Stacey asked again if I were okay. So I said, "It's a hard time. But really, like I told Cara and Dylan, it's a learning time for all of us. There will be great lessons in it. Your father will have to learn to be a bit more connected, emotionally. That change will make your relationship with him better as well." She agreed that it would. She said that she couldn't believe just a couple weeks ago, she was home on leave and everything was normal. I told her life's funny like that.
We talked across the parking lot, right up to the entrance of the hospital, and when we said good bye, she said that she loved me, and I said that I loved her too. She asked me to tell her dad that, and I said, "Why don't you tell him yourself? It will mean a lot." And I handed Tim the phone.
The doors automatically opened. They've got the lobby decorated for breast cancer awareness month. Pink balloons, and pictures of survivors every where, giant pink ribbons, written testimonials. I heard Tim say, "I love you too." Cara is wise. We need to celebrate the days that bring us closer. And as tired as I am, I take a moment to do just that.


jeanie said...

Oh Deb, what a lovely post (and yes, of course I am teary).

I think that sometimes life hands out lessons we don't deserve - but what we learn can be huge or small, but also very profound.

Hugs - gentle hugs.

Portia said...

Blessings occur everyday in every situation. You are doing a great job of recognizing and appreciating them.

Lavinia said...

What an emotional time for your whole family...across the time zones and the world. Your illness is shaking things up bigtime! I think when the dust settles, you'll look around and be quite happy with the 'renovation'.

So good to see you all pulling closer together. Sometimes illness has the opposite effect and each retreats into their own shell. But that is not what is happening there.

Pencil Writer said...

Jeanie stole my word. "Lovely." That was my first thought. Lovely post. Lovely family re-union. God knows what we need, even when we don't like the road He requires us to travel.

Prayers and hugs to you, Debby, and all the family.

steviewren said...

Debby, you're making me tear up at work....with your very articulate take on life.

I'm going to remember to 'celebrate the weekend away' with the ones I love.

PaintedPromise said...

now that Randy's boys are older and not quite so influenced by their mother, i see little glimpses of connection between them which this reminded me of... isn't it nice for our men!?! they DO feel it, even if they don't say or do enough sometimes...

Bush Babe (of Granite Glen) said...

You are a wise woman. Glad you could open up enough to let Stacey in, and share the love (by sharing that phone) with Tim too. You inspire me.

Mary Paddock said...

Debby--A sweet, gentle tale. Thank you so much for sharing. When it's working right, family serves as a great refuge.