I get a little overwhelmed here lately with all the goodness around me. I have the absolute BEST family a person could ever even dream of. They make me happy deep within my soul. I quickly found out who loved me when my boys died. I remember all the people that called me in the months following their death, the people who sent me nice cards, the people who went out of their way to talk to me or hug me when they saw me. You never forget those things. I only wish my sons could of had the opportunity to meet all of these people.
Did you know that my cousin/best friend Karen Wood has literally been my best friend since the day I was born. She experienced every milestone in my life right beside me. She was there for the loss of my first tooth, my first set of stitches, my first heart-break from a boy, my first bra, my first black-eye, my first boyfriend, my first dog, my first everything. She is often the first person I call with good news, and bad news too. When I called and told her I had liver cancer, she was really calm and we got off the phone kinda fast. Then, about two minutes later, she called me and I could tell she was crying and she was asking me lots of questions. She is so helpful, so she was already trying to help "fix" me. Karen came and sat with me every day for months after my boys died, MONTHS. She knew how deep my hurt was. I cannot ever lie to her, she knows when I am covering up my pain or hurt. I loved growing-up across the street from this beautiful person. I hated it when she was sick and we couldn't play together, or when my Aunt Kay had a headache and we couldn't hang-out ( now I realize that my aunt probably needed a break from all of us:). Karen is 11 months older than me and I have longed to do everything she does. She is a huge reason why I am a nurse today. She is a phenomenal nurse in the ER at Ben Taub. She can put and iv in, a foley in, and send labs off all in 60 seconds with a patient that is seizing. I could watch her "nurse" people all day. Since my diagnosis, not a day has gone by that Karen hasn't communicated with me and checked on me. People don't realize that since we grew-up across the street from each other, we were more like sisters. We both know all of each others' secrets, mistakes, accomplisments, embarrassments, desires, and fears. I get emotional almost every time I think of her, because so much joy swells up in my heart. The best thing about Karen is her relationship with Christ, she is also a Christian, so we will be together for eternity. I wouldn't know what to do if she wasn't in my life. She is currently putting so much work into planning this softball tournament fundraiser for me. She is a gift from God in my eyes. I could spend days telling you about all the good things Karen has done in her life. She is so selfless- she was a nanny to her first nephew Noah out in California, and now she helps her sister Deborah with her two boys, and she loves every minute of it. I smile every time I walk by her car and see TWO carseats in the backseat! She will be a great mom someday just like her own mother. I want my son Thomas to spend time with people like Karen, people who always put others first. One quick story about us is that since we lived on the same street and we were practically connected at the hip, we seemed to always get the same exact thing from Santa each year. I would run across the street to see what she had received and I would see the same exact thing I had opened. Now, we know what was going on, but I am so thankful that our parents were insightful enough to see that if they kept things fair, we would not get jealous of one another. Our parents helped to foster a relationship full of love. I love you more than I can express Karen Wood. You have filled my love bank up to the brim. Thank you!
One other fantabulous person in my family is my Aunt Tricia. She is the one who sends out all the email updates for me, organizes almost all of the fundraisers, and she is who I often go to for advice. She is my aunt by marriage, but this is one case where that saying "blood is thicker than water," is false. I wish you could see what a great example she is for me. I look to her for so much guidance. She loves Jesus, there is no doubt after meeting her only once. She is a Proverbs 31 wife, she loves her husband, my Uncle Booley. She loves all of him, the good, the bad, the nice, the mean, the selfish part, the helpful part, the easy part, and the difficult part. I often wonder if he even has a clue to how blessed he is. When you are newly married, you need to be able to observe someone like this to help you navigate through the hard times. She gives me the best, Godly advice right when I need it. I can't tell you how many times I have been having a meltdown and my phone rings, and you guessed it, it is Aunt Tricia. I unload. I can say ANYTHING, absolutely ANYTHING and I know she will never repeat it or judge me for it. I told her just how mad I was at God when my babies died, I told her about my doubts, my fears when I was pregnant again, my deepest pain and sadness. I also tell her about my joys in life, my accomplishments, my epiphanies. She ALWAYS listens with an open heart and an open mind. You know in this life, there aren't too many people you would feel comfortable with if they saw you, you know the real you, the one Jesus sees. But, I would totally feel comfortable with her knowing every single detail of my life. I tried to write her a card to thank her for all that she does for me, and I couldn't find words that give her justice. She will still cry with me when I cry about my boys, she still talks to me about them, she remembers them. You see, I always want to talk about them, but I don't want others to be uncomfortable. Tricia still says their names, thank you for that. Those are the sweetest names to hear, those are my boys, they have taught me more in 7 months of carrying them, than anyone else has ever taught me. My God is real, my God is good, my God is faithful, my God loves me, my God blesses me, and my God still works miracles everyday. Open your eyes and look around and see all the wonders God has created, wonders like my cousin Karen and my Aunt Tricia.