Today, Joey Feek, a Country Singer who was diagnosed with terminal cancer, passed away. Her only wish before she passed was that she make it long enough to celebrate her daughter's second birthday. She did. And you know what else she did? She continued to make meals, even if it meant sitting in a recliner chair while her family placed the ingredients around her. She continued to soak up every last minute she'd ever have. She made sure she gave her daughter one last kiss.
AB is almost two. In fact, in less than a month from now, we'll be celebrating her birthday. It's going to be Bubble Guppies themed because, at almost two, she loves nothing more in the world than Bu-bu-bubble, Guppy, guppy, guppies. I've picked the birthday party time, which is crucial as you know, when considering nap time and the probability that your child may have a meltdown of epic proportions while guests are half way through singing the Happy Birthday song. Of course, in these early years maybe birthdays are more for the parents than the babies, but that's ok. I'm lucky. I'm not hoping I'll be able to see that day. My worries are much smaller than that. Like, "What size cake do we get for the guests?" smaller.
The grief I have for a woman who has passed, who I never knew, isn't describable. I grieve for all of things she'll never get to experience with her child. When you have a baby, you plan for all of the things you'll do with them. All of the things you'll teach them. All of the firsts, the meltdowns, and the memories. All of the times you'll see the wonder in their eyes. The excitement of bright lights. The thrill of mastering a new sound. The joy of a new book. You don't plan for all the minutes you'll never get to have with your child. If someone were to tell me I wasn't going to be able to watch AB grow up, they might as well take the soul right out of my heart. Now, I know in the face of her illness, Joey remained a strong front. She put on a brave face, and smiled through her tears to inspire others. To be strong for her daughter, her family. But as a mother, I know her heart must have shattered into a million pieces.
Joey may have gone to sleep for the last time never knowing how impactful her story would be for so many. For me, her final days, her attitude, were the embodiment of what a lifetime should capture. We spend so much of our days complaining about the mundane, going through the motions, not embracing the moment (yay, cliche!). Now that's not to say that sometimes the mundane isn't valid. It's all relative right? It's all perspective. But, every once in a while we're graced with a story like Joey's, which gets carried our way, albeit not enough. These days we're inundated with everything that shouldn't matter.
It's easy to lose sight of what's important through tired, restless nights, work drama, personal drama, life drama, life. I've missed AB's bedtime a few nights this week due to late hours. I've gotten embroiled in petty drama. I've thought about myself more often than my friends and family this week. I haven't been able to be completely present as my head is a constant reel of each day's work projects that have yet to be finalized. My priorities have been somewhere in there, but lost in the noise.
And then I see the headline from the trending news. Joey Feek passes away after battle with cancer.
"We" knew it was coming. The posts from her family had indicated so. But that doesn't really make it any less devastating; infuriating.
Getting home for bedtime is my favorite part of the day.
AB is there, waiting for me. I know that when I enter that door, she'll be just on the other side of the baby gate. Her hair will be messy and tangled from all of the rolling around she's been doing. Her little belly will be peaking out just beneath the size 24 month shirt that don't quite fit. She'll say, "Mommy!" And then she'll run and hide and we'll laugh and scream and run around the house until I catch her and demand kisses in payment. And then I'll get to experience all the newness of that day. Did she start saying a new word? Maybe she learned a new dance move. And then it'll be bedtime. AB will grab her blankie and her paci (gasp, sleep aids!), and she climb up the stairs and run into her bedroom and pick us a book to read. She'll fake cry when I put her in her crib, but I know that by the time I get downstairs, she'll be nestled up with her blanket.
And then we'll do it again, night after night, until she's ready for a toddler bed. And I'll get to be there for that. At least I'm planning on it. And for all of her years ahead. And in the meantime, I'm not going to take a second for granted, because it's not promised.