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Hey Reed . . .

February 20, 2020

Hey Reed –

I can hardly believe that it has been a year since I last wrote to you.  Seeing the last date posted somewhat shocked me. I realized that while 365 days have passed without writing, there hasn’t been a single day that I haven’t thought of you.  There just has been so much that has occurred in the last year.

Some wonderful.  Other parts incredibly painful, but most of it exceptionally busy. Through it all, our people have loved us fiercely and I would be lost without them.

In the last year, there has been so many things to report. We finally put a swimming pool in the backyard and we love it. When I look back there, I think of all the adventures we had with the tree house and I can only imagine the tales we would have had with a pool. You would be amazed at the stories created by Erin and her work with kiddos teaching them confidence and comfort levels with water.  Remember when Cloie was born and Erin marched with “confidence” to slide down the Y slide even though she wasn’t old enough to do it on her own. Turns out she never lost her confidence with water.  You would be proud.

Cloie graduated from making imaginary gnocchi in her play kitchen for you to actually owning a bakery with a friend.  I can only imagine that if you could see her in action in the kitchen, at the Farmers Market, or at events, that your voice would be boasting the loudest, “That’s my baby sister! Isn’t she something!” Remember when you wrote the Youth as Resources grant to create an art show for kids, she did a similar thing by being one of the founders of Marshall’s Kindlmarkt. There are so many times that she has an insatiable drive and passion for something that I have to pause because my heart knows that whatever she says it would have been something that you would have said.

The milestones that we missed with you have come in rapid succession for Sawyer. We are so happy for him, while also grieving the moments lost.  Your best buddy grew into an amazing man with a heart that is both courageous and kind. In the last year, Sawyer became a dog owner, graduated from college, got accepted to medical school, and got married.  It was a beautiful celebration for Sawyer and Sydney surrounded by our dearest people.  Imagine our surprise that the photo we received from the honeymoon was the cardinal that wouldn’t leave the porch of their cabin.

Dad keeps busy with work and church.  He still loves hunting and fishing, and Cloie is always on the hunt for a hunting dog for him.  We all just humor him, because he, of course, continues to report that he doesn’t like kids or dogs. The rest of us have yet to meet a dog or child that doesn’t end up being his best buddy.  Speaking of that, give Huck a hug from all of us, we miss like crazy too.

And speaking of buddies, our extra kiddos have graced our lives with a whole brood of adopted grandchildren.  And this year, our hearts found a few more to love. L, C, B, K Reed (named after you), P, D, and two more on the way make us Grammy and Grampy, the best names we could ever have. You would love all of them.  We and their parents make sure they all know who you are, and this year, the oldest, L, had lots of questions about you.  She wanted to know how big you were when I remembered we still have your Lands End jacket from kindergarten, the same grade she was entering.  In that beautiful way where heaven touches Earth, it fit her perfectly.  Rather than just telling her a story, we could say, Reed was exactly the same size as you are when he was going to kindergarten.  It was such a precious and tender moment.  Beautiful in its simplicity, leaving an indelible mark on my heart.

The lack of time spent keeping this blog running has been spent teaching while being a doctoral student and about a bazillion other things.  The light is at the end of the tunnel on my schooling, and in almost a cosmic recognition of how sacred I hold February 18 as my last fully whole day, I received a notice yesterday, that while my dissertation still needs to be defended, I am a candidate for graduation.  The irony is not lost on me that the timing of the news was on that day and not today. The challenges and struggles have been many and the journey arduous, but achieving my dreams when for so long they have been deferred is incredibly gratifying. There were times when I wasn’t sure I would finish within the timeframe I gave myself considering everything else going in our life.  Truth be told, in those moments, I, often think of how you bravely faced your diagnosis of a debilitating eye condition, and I realize we are not ordinary people.  Clinging tightly to your bravery, I persevered.

When I look back over the last year, I can vividly see all the beautiful colors of the amazing moments, outlined by the black threads of grief in the despairing moments.  The most colorful ones are the instances where we were surrounded by those we love and those who fiercely love us back, doing extraordinary and especially ordinary things, in life.  The most perfect moment was the flash of red color I saw out the window after experiencing the shock of the surprise party for my 50th birthday. I was surrounded by love. In every corner I looked, another person I love was there. There were some who couldn’t make it, but the one my heart wanted more than all made sure that I knew he was there.

Everyone was shocked when I pointed out the window, but a momma knows.  She always knows.  No matter how far away heaven seems most of the time, my momma hearts knows that the distance can never exceed the depth of my love for you.

Loving you now and loving you forever, until I can hug you again.   Until that moment, holding my memories of you tightly in my heart.





  1. Forever in our hearts till they’re forever in our arms again. Kelli’s Mom

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