Everything happens...even death in this life.
It is never easy.
My friend Jeff passed away early this morning. He passed peacefully with his beautiful wife Erin and darling 11 month old son, Carter at his side.
Erin's mother, his father and mother and sister had been with him, night and day for the past 2 weeks. Loved ones said good-bye. Friends were able to visit. It has been a tender farewell to a truly great man.
Erin and Jeff have endured so much the past 2 years. After a struggle to get pregnant, they were given the long awaited news that indeed a little boy was on the way. Only months into the pregnancy, Erin was advised by her doctors that complete bed rest was necessary. And 1 month later (and still on bed rest), Jeff was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
I can only imagine the difficulty it would have been for Erin, her first time carrying a child, to be given the news she must stay in bed...for months unable to attend to her sweetheart. And Jeff, a young healthy police officer, to be given the news, you have cancer and unable to attend to his sweetheart.
Both, so young, with their first child on the way, suffering so much.
And yet, I saw gratitude. Erin was positive. Jeff was loving. They were there for one another.
The baby came. Erin needed to work. Her loving mother came to live with them as a caretaker for both Jeff and baby Carter.
And I saw gratitude. Erin was loving. Jeff was positive. They were there for one another.
Friends from the police department came and helped in their home, finishing the basement, getting the baby's room ready, painted walls, hung pictures, brought dinners and escorted Jeff to doctor's appointments.
Friends from Erin's work, were able to give her time off as Kindergarten teacher extraordinaire, brought dinners and helped in so many ways.
And again and again I saw gratitude. Erin and Jeff were loving and positive...and always there for one another.
Jeff's cancer kept growing. His body, once strong had become weak. The past week he began to quietly and peacefully slip away. He remained long enough for Erin to be ready to say good-bye, for Carter to touch his father one last time, for Jeff's father and mother to hold their son, his sister was able to be there from her job in China and Erin's mother and sisters too were able to bid farewell.
And how blessed I was, a simple friend, to see the love of this family in action. Erin's hand on Jeff's fevered head, holding his hand, whispering of her love (telling him she would be okay if he needed to go). I saw a father who shaved his son's sleeping face, a mother rubbing his sweet feet. Words of love shared to Jeff who was still there, listening and feeling surrounded by love...in so many forms yet unable to respond.
You see, everything does happen. Good things. Hard things. Happy things. Even sad things.
And through everything, we learn so very much.
(Carter and I hanging out last Friday)You will be missed by so many... dear Jeff.