As I sip my morning coffee outside the Yellow Fin, our cozy cottage provided by my cousin, BeeGee, a hurricane of emotions whips at me. While this last-minute trip to “Paradise” will probably be an early Christmas gift for my husband and me, it is not totally a pleasure trip. We’re down here to attend a memorial for her son, Grady, who passed away from cardiac failure only days after Thanksgiving.
In no way can I begin to fathom the heartbreak that Beeg and her family are experiencing, right now. Her Grady was only a year younger than my younger son, Terry. During this time, I expect to meet his wife, Brandy. Notice I still say “wife”. Again, a surreal moment for a happy, productive, young couple. Maybe, in time, she’ll try on that “w-word”, and then again, maybe she won’t ever. A newlywed, myself, I wouldn’t blame her, one bit. It never seemed to fit my mother, once my daddy passed. In fact, she wore her wedding band until the day she joined him in Heaven.
Truth is, I never met BeeGee’s son, face to face, but I’ve followed their exuberant journey on Facebook. Through his photos, I felt as though I knew him –the best friend anyone would ever hope to have,and soulmate to his wife, a giant among fathers, and an adoring and protective son to my cousin.
Last night, when we arrived, I saw BeeGee’s daughter, Anne, for the first time, since 1967, when she was a newborn. Together, we — my husband, Jeff, and I — enjoyed a tasty, home-cooked meal with BeeGee, her daughter, Anne and Anne’s and Grady’s dad, Don. Today, I look forward to finally meeting Grady’s wife, Brandy, their sons, Drew and Ryan, and being reunited with my other cousin, BeeGee’s younger sister, LouLou. Tomorrow, we will gather at the memorial and fajita dinner for the family, afterwards.
I expected Grady to rally after having been hospitalized a few days before Thanksgiving. We truly never know, from one heartbeat to the next, whether one breath will lead to another. We have only the moments we have lived and can only pray the Lord grants us more.