Friday, September 26, 2008

Six Months

September 26, 2008--six months. Six months have passed without Jeff. In some ways they have passed quickly and in others they have crawled by--minute by minute. Our girls have changed so much in six months. They are taller, sweeter, smarter, funnier, braver. I don't know how I have changed, but I do know that I am different. I know my face has become care worn and serious. I know I have dreams that I wake from and then I feel scared and worried. I know that every noise I hear at night keeps me from sleeping.

I am trying to feel God's presence again. I know He is there--I just have to be still and know that God is all. But sometimes that is a tall order. It's just me now with the girls--to keep them safe, to love them, to teach them. Tonight we had a very frightening experience. It was because of this experience that I had to write. You see, everyday--at least four or five times a day--I pray that God gives me at least 20 more years to live. I need at least 20 years to make sure the girls never have to be alone. I need 20 more years to make sure they are safe and happy. Please God--20 more years.

Tonight made me shake--tonight made me thankful--tonight reminded me that God is holding us--and I think Jeff is too. Tonight after soccer practice, we went to buy a birthday gift and then to have dinner at Panera Bread. Our big night out. On our way home at 7:35 p.m., we were heading south on Campbell. To my left I suddenly saw a flash of light and directly behind me, in my rearview mirror, I saw a mass of metal barely miss the back of our car. A horrible accident happened inches from us. A difference of five seconds and I would not have been able to avoid the mass of metal flying across both lanes.

I realized how close we were and immediately thanked God for His protection and prayed for the safety and protection of those in the cars involved. I was shaking and had to pull into a parking lot. I just bowed my head and cried and thanked God over and over that He and Jeff had their loving arms around us. They kept my babies safe. Twenty more years, God, please.

I am still in tears and shaking at how close we were. I have to shut out the thoughts because it is my biggest fear that just passed before me. My girls are my everything. I promised God the day they were born and I promised Jeff the day he left, that I would always keep them safe and love them. God kept his promise to me. I am so grateful--I am so very grateful--I get one more day with my girls.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

After the Benefit Concert

The Man of LaMancha--the heartbreak of a lost dream. In the end, the dream--the quest-- Don Quixote believed in, is carried on by those who loved him--"The Impossible Dream." The character Aldonza asks Don Quixote why does he pursue his quest? Don Quixote responds " I hope to add some measure of grace to the world."

That statement is the best one I can think of that describes Jeff's life and his approach to each day. Jeff was not a dreamer in the sense that he imagined something that he hoped would happen in his life. He saw a dream and worked with all of his heart and soul to see it come to reality. Jeff's dreams weren't of material wealth--he wasn't indulgent in that regard. Jeff indulged in kindness and hope and the dream that he would build a business that meant something to his clients and the community and that would give his daughters and wife a good life. He wanted to teach his daughters how to be kind and thoughtful and tolerant. He wanted to teach them to give of themselves--give from the heart. So, this is now my quest--this dream. Everyday I strive to teach our girls how to care about others, to see beyond their own wants and needs, and to see that no matter what the outward picture is, it is what we share inside that is true and lovely. Our grace, our kindness, our truth--to see another as God's child.

I will carry on Jeff's Hope to make it better for cancer patients. In the program for the concert, I wrote that "Tonight is the beginning..." It is the beginning. We will move forward and keep our goal before us. The Jeffrey A. Melton Urgent Care Cancer Foundation has many "quests" to accomplish--the Urgent Care Cancer Clinics, the Mobile Cancer Clinics, the data base that links diagnosis to available treatments, the Angel Flight Network. It will happen--one step at a time. It will help--one cancer patient at a time. We must take it one day at a time and be grateful we get to have one more day.

The concert was a blessing--the performances were beautiful and heart touching. I had tears when Betty sang Con Te Partiro--I Will Go With You. And more tears during the finale when the troupe performed "Dream the Impossible Dream." We were able to raise close to $1,500, in donations and pledges of support. Most importantly we were able to tell the story and get the word out. Joe and Christine Daues, Natalie Swallow and KSPR were so generous to get behind this to give the Foundation quite an inaugural. So many helped to make the night a reality and it never would have happened without the talents of Marvin Murphree, who came to me and offered the gift of music for the evening. Thank you to Julie and Paul, Sandy and Lee, Missi and BJ, Peggy, Eugenia and her gift of design. Thank you to all of the businesses that enthusiastically said "Yes" when I asked to place the event poster in their windows. Thank you to all the dear members of Campbell United Methodist Church who came to offer their support and took a large part of the work off my shoulders. Thank you to Kris Keller and Linda Merkling and Judy Bilyeu. Thank you to the Gillioz and Piano Craft. Thank you to everyone who attended and wanted to attend--sometimes life gets busy. That's the way it is supposed to be. My love and gratitude to all.