Ever had someone present a crazy idea and ask you to be a part of it? In December 2012 Ned announced that he would be planning a 35th Anniversary shindig for he and my mom. A surprise shindig for her. Stunned at his announcement, I thought, “Who does this?”
Ned, that’s who. When I questioned his sanity, he simply stated, “Well, I doubt we will be around for 50, so I want to do it now.” Fair enough.
This all came about after Ned successfully battled prostate cancer and had received a clean bill of health. In fact, after his diagnosis and recovery, he did a lot stuff with great intentionality and fervency.
As with everything, he planned, Kristi and I helped. He’s an avid planner and sees everything through to completion. No stone was left unturned.
Fortunately, both Ryan and Matthew had leave and both were in Charleston, at the time. My brother and his son, Zach, were also able to make the trip from their home in Eugene, Oregon. It was a family affair.
The event turned out beautifully. They renewed their vows with all of their family and a multitude of friends. A blessed occasion.
Little did I know at the time how special that event would be for me. I still thought it was a little hair brained and crazy.
Now, here I sit four years later to tell you, that day has been etched in my memory for life. You see, I didn’t know at the time what God knew.
First of all, last March, Ned was diagnosed with Stage IV Lung Cancer. The initial diagnosis was bleak. No chemo and he might live 4 months. Chemo would give him 9-15 months life expectancy. Suffice to say, he is now almost 17 months after being diagnosed and he’s still with us.
Secondly, it would be the last time my family of 6 would be in the same place, at the same time. Yep, that’s right. My two older boys have not seen one another in 4 years.
The anniversary took place in June and at the end of July, Ryan would be transferred to Groton, Connecticut to serve on the USS Pittsburgh. Within about a month of his arrival, he was already doing short “under ways” in preparation for a 6 month deployment. In the meantime, Matthew would remain in Charleston for the next 1 1/2 before being transferred to Hawaii.
Folks, let me tell you. I am proud to have two boys serving our country but it’s hard on families. Time and distance, coupled with little or no communication, makes it difficult. If it’s difficult for me as a mom, think of the wives and children affected.
What at first seemed to be a crazy idea was one of the very best things Ned has ever done. I am grateful and thankful for his persistence in following through with the celebration!