The Hardest Question
One of the hardest questions I have to face is the now ubiquitous, “how are you doing?” or “how are you holding up?”
It’s not hard because it’s the wrong question, or that I wish people would quit asking it — well, I mean I have heard it a lot and I’m ready for people to quit asking it, but I understand why it’s being asked. And yet it’s hard because the honest answer is, I don’t know how I’m holding up. Sometimes I think I’m doing better because I’m not randomly breaking down anymore. But then I feel bad because I feel like I should be feeling worse, and then that problem is solved.
And then I might read my sister’s blog and start crying all over again. Or once in a while I’ll be looking at my children and tears will sting my eyes that grandma will not be present in their lives anymore, and the youngest of them — certainly Kaylee — will not remember or know my mom in this life.
Or maybe I think about the fact that I will certainly visit my mom’s grave at some point in the future, but that’s too painful to think about right now. Apparently some part of me is not ready to admit that her body, her shell, is in the ground, returning to the dust from whence it came.
I also remember from time to time that we have not talked about a headstone at all yet. I have not been able to bring it up with dad, and I don’t know if he’s thought about it yet. And then I am sad all over again.
So, about that hard question — I still don’t know, but it’s sort of looking like I’m not doing all that well.
My Sister Writes About Mom
The day after the funeral, I was thinking about planting flowers at the grave for Mothers Day, and as soon as the phrase “mom’s grave” went through my mind, I was glad that I was alone in the house. For a while, I just sat on my bed and cried.
And I cried reading this.
An Anniversary I Will Forever Remember
Below are some of the hardest words I will ever write. I’ve written much of those words before writing this part at the top and I have cried — no, I have wept. I have had to stop and walk away for a bit. But I need to write this, I need to preserve it, and I need to tell it.
Sunday afternoon, all eight Draper siblings, the two spouses of the siblings, and all 5 grandchildren (well six technically with one in my sister’s womb) gathered together in my parents’ home to belatedly celebrate their 32nd anniversary. My dad is a semi-truck driver — owner operator — and he got a well paying load that he needed to take to feed the family, but it would have him out of town over the anniversary. So we decided to celebrate later. And that’s what we did.
It wasn’t anything special. We talked trucks, politics, life, other mundane things, nothing too exciting. The young grandchildren ran around playing, grandma (my mom) would coax one of them to let her hold them or sit on her lap occasionally.
We gathered around the table and ate food, had brownies and ice cream, gave my parents gifts, etc. Mundane, and normal celebration. As usual, my dad would rib and tease my mom about silly things. Sometimes she fell for it, not knowing (as always) if he was serious, other times, she knew better and didn’t fall for it. Occasionally, she would punch dad on the shoulder for some particularly funny tease. And at one point, my parents had a kiss in honor of their anniversary that had us children begging them to get a room. My parents loved each other more than any other couple I have ever known. Yes, I love my wife passionately, but I’m not even sure I know how to love that much yet. It will take me many more years to achieve that kind of love.
As usual, a little while after the meal, and after some more small talk, my sister, her husband, and their kiddo cleared out. And my family also began to clear out. As usual, my three kids old enough to make the rounds on their little feet ran around giving hugs and kisses to aunts and uncles, and especially to grandpa and grandma. And Kaylee was passed around. As usual my mom lingered over the precious little infant bundle.
And then we left with words I don’t exactly remember, but were along the lines of, “see you soon.” And why wouldn’t I say that? As far as any of us knew, my mother was healthy and vibrant. And she was only 56 years old. It turns out, “see you soon,” was presumptuous.
My wife and I went home and at bedtime put the kids to bed. As is my habit, I was watching a little TV (I’m re-watching Stargate SG-1 if you must know) when I received a phone call. The caller ID read Charlotte Draper. I answered with something like, “Hi Mom, what’s up.” It was my sister — the oldest sister still living at home. She explained in an unsteady voice that mom had a heart attack and was not breathing. Dad was trying desperately to revive her with CPR and chest compressions.
I fumbled around the house looking for my keys, a shirt, shoes and who knows what else. I had a hard time finding them all through the tears.
I drove pretty fast. Somewhere in the back of my mind I was afraid an officer of the law would see me and delay me by pulling me over for such outrageous speed. Any time I saw headlights I would slow down to something a little more reasonable. It was the most helpless thing I have ever felt.
After what seemed like an eternity, I arrived at my parents’ home where an ambulance had arrived and the medics were trying desperately to revive my mother. My dad was looking on helplessly and praying, standing on the back bumper of the ambulance. Not long after that the ambulance took off.
My dad took off after the ambulance in the car, my sister Johanna jumped in with him. The rest of us didn’t quite know what to do. My sister’s husband Gabriel was there. Johanna (I believe) had called him to come help and he had been with my dad trying to revive my mom. We prayed, then I wondered around the living room a bit while my siblings sat around bleary eyed and crying. Then I took Gabriel back to their house only a minute away so he could talk to my sister Elise.
I don’t remember exactly how, but we figured out we should get in the family van and get ourselves to the emergency room to be with dad.
On the way I got a phone call. We were probably five minutes away. Somehow my dad choked out to me that mom was gone. The doctor had declared death. I was unable to get all the words out to my siblings, but they knew. We all frankly knew that despite CPR and chest compressions, she had not been breathing for far too long. But the finality of it was too much.
There’s much more to tell, but it’s too much of a blur to untangle at the moment. We were surrounded by friends at the hospital. We made phone calls, we comforted dad, we comforted each other, we cried with friends, we hugged a lot. But nothing helped. My dear mother was gone.
My mom loved her children and grandchildren. She poured her life and soul into us. There was nothing more important to her. There was never a question in my mind that my mom was there. She was a constant in my life. She saw me born into the world, she saw me grow up and learn to ride a bike, she saw me fumble with schemes and plans to elevate myself in the world, to make money, to make a life for myself. She was with me when I hugged her, she was with me when I had a bad attitude from time to time as a teenager. She was with me when I was married. She would wait anxiously for news of her grandchildren’s birth. She was there for birthdays, rainy days, thick, and thin.
And finally, my mother was a Godly women who loved the Lord and desired nothing more than that her children should walk in His ways. I know with assurance where my mother is, and that one day I shall see her again.
My mother, in many ways, may have been an ordinary women, caring for an ordinary (more or less) family. But she was one of the most extraordinary women I have ever, or will ever know.
Kaylee’s Baptism in Pictures
The Baptism of Kaylee Marie
Follow the link for the audio recording of the service. My Pastor gave a REALLY great message. Go listen!
“Not a Person Until 18 Months”
While Gray argued that the unborn should be protected in law because abortion is the violent killing of innocent human life, Mercer argued that there is nothing ethically troubling about abortion, at one point suggesting that a baby isn’t a “person” until around 18 months of age.
Man, my new little “not a person” sure is cute!
Mercer agreed that the unborn are human beings, and that abortion is the deliberate killing of a human being, but argued that the notion of “human being” is not a “morally relevant concept.” Individuals are not special by virtue of their “species membership,” he said, but become “persons” and worthy of protection because they possess certain “ethically salient properties” such as the ability to experience pain or pleasure, self-consciousness, and rationality.
This is wickedness, pure and simple. And while current typical pro-choicers may slam this guy as an extremist and not representative of the pro-choice position, this is where it leads. This is where we are headed.
More Kaylee (I need more creative blog titles)
Meeting the Siblings
Kaylee Marie, Child of the Covenant
It is with great joy that I introduce to you our fourth little one, our second daughter, Kaylee Marie, child of the covenant.
- 20” long
- 7 lbs, 1 oz
- Dark hair
- Brown eyes
- Cute as a button
She was not too thrilled when it was time to be weighed and measured, mommy was much more cuddly.
Sometimes it’s just hard to find good help and you have to be your own photographer.
The first bath also proved a bit traumatic, but somehow she made it through.
Our wonderful midwife and nurse. We could not imagine having anyone else.
Our newest addition:
Doug Wilson Post Mortem Analysis
Professing Christians who voted for Obama were either confusedly or rebelliously heaping up judgment for all of us. Christians on the right who voted for Romney for no other reason than that he was “electable” found out that he was not as electable as all that. And Christians who voted for absolute ideological purity (which is, remember, a form of impurity) found out that that kind of purity wasn’t in the running.
Exactly, so much for being “electable”. Turns out he wasn’t actually.
If you want this conservative to vote with you, stop trying to entice me with non-conservatives. Stop trying to feed bacon to your horse. One of the numbing numbers to come out of this fiasco is the fact that if Romney had simply gotten the same number of votes that McCain did, Romney would have won. This deflation happened without a robust third party candidate siphoning off a large number of votes. The results of this election should not cause us to think we need to “move to the center.” Two establishment Republican candidates in a row have gone down, and this second time the centrist lost to a failed presidency. I mean, think about it.
I mean, right? If you are the conservative party, and that party over there is the liberal party, what good does it do to try to emulate the liberal party and have liberal candidates? Who is it you think youare enticing? Not the liberals, they already have a party. Not the conservatives, there is a reason they don’t vote for liberals.
Over the next four years our energies should be focused on getting all Christian kids out of the government schools. If your kids are educated by people who are soft in the head, why would you expect them to grow up and not vote for people who are soft in the head? Students become like their teachers (Luke 6:40). Don’t lament the fact that Obama won if over 90% of your children’s teachers voted for him.
Listen to the man!