Seven years, seven months ago, April 13, 2011 to be exact was the day our quake happened! My friend, collegiate ministry partner of 14 years, husband, and father of two kids heaved his last breath in ICU at UAB Birmingham. I remember him hanging on; hanging on for three long weeks after a pulmonary bleed from cystic fibrosis complications. Our days during that storm were a roller coaster ride. We lived in a time warp from blood gas to blood gas draws, on ventilator, dialysis, through being in a coma, and waking up...
When I arrived at his bed side that Wednesday afternoon, I knew! I knew today was the day, the day of his ultimate healing. The day he would step into the presence of the Father. There was no doubt, no escaping the jaundice look of death he wore. Guant, frail, lifeless. I also knew the “eye of the tiger” needed my permission to quit fighting; quit fighting to return home to the two babies he so wanted to see grow up! The babies doctors told him he would never have!
I bent low, mustered up the bravery to whispered in ear, “I’m going to be ok, the kids are going to be ok . I’m just going to pray, I’m jealous you are with Jesus.” Mission accomplish. Within two hours the descent started. Heart rate drop, blood pressure lower, breaths shallower. That was the day our "65 roses" (cystic fibrosis) chapter slipped away .
I’m not sure I can articulate the fog I walked through or the seemingly insurmountable task of trying to settle an estate/restructure finances, and return medical equipment , all while simultaneously dealing with my grief and walking a 7 year old and a 22 month old through their own! I recall feeling lost, alone, and drowning in emotional exhaustion!
In December 2011, my friend, Emily, met us where our family story began on our college campus for family photo shoot. Seeing brown eyed boy and blue eyed girl fingers grasping my hands in photograph as we walked across front lawn with fountain streams in background, I made the resolute decision the time had come for party of three to move from "65 Roses" to a new bed of roses. I had the opportunity to show my kids love is win-win proposition (Davis Chappell) and pain doesn't have the last word.
This morning on the eve of Thanksgiving, this beautiful journey of loss to restoration crossed my path. The Brookers story of becoming single parents, blending families, and creating a new bed of roses is hope-inspiring! Enjoy!
Daniel and Brittney Brooker's story