Fifteen years ago this week…a cracking voice and haunting words I will never forget echoed through the phone line. It was my sister-in-law…
“Jodi, is Chad there?”
“No, Tina, he’s at work.”
“Can I get his number?”
“Tina, what’s wrong?”
“Mark…was just killed.”
Mark was her husband, Chad’s older brother of 11-months. He had been killed in a logging accident when he turned his back on a falling tree and it bounced back at him and killed Mark instantly. In a flash, he was gone. He would have been 41 today. He died three days before his 26th birthday.
Some years this day passes and I don’t think about it. But today, I did. I think about how that day changed the dynamic of our family, both intimate and extended, forever. I saw my husband in a different light, as a little boy who just lost his best friend. But I also watched him become someone else, someone who truly saw who was depending on him…Tahd, Kelsey, and me.
I sat in that funeral home next to my niece who just lost her daddy, knowing there was two little ones just like her at home who had lost theirs too. Next to Tina, who just lost her first love, her true high school sweetheart. We listened to Chad share the eulogy that he fought through just to deliver without breaking down into a puddle of tears. I think he must have looked out at that funeral home and saw two sisters-in-law, both with little ones, but one woman would go home that night and lay in bed next to her husband and best friend while the other went home to a quiet house and wouldn’t lay in their marriage bed again with hers.
Chad became a different guy after that, call it the grown up version, I guess. Life insurance was purchased (which his brother did not have) and we bought our first home. As a dad he played more, loved harder, hugged deeper and never looked at his kids the same.
Twenty years ago this week, I met my first sweetheart. I don’t know if it was love at first sight, but it sure was close. I have been with Chad since that day…almost everyday actually. I am blessed to have loved him and had him as my own for so long. He is a loving father and an incredible husband who ALWAYS puts his family first. We are grateful to the Lord for everyday that we have him in our lives.
So today, as I think about what was lost so many years ago, I will choose to hug a little tighter and sit a little closer and smooch my man a little longer, treasuring what we have.