Friday, October 24, 2014

The Gap

Esme Missing Tooth

Would ya look at this? Esme, who is just barely five years old, says to me last Friday morning at the table, "Mommy, I can't eat this any more; my toof hurts too much." She's said this at two meals now, so I start paying attention. After a moment of examination, I say, "Esme Rose, you have a loose tooth! A very loose tooth!" I'm rather shocked, since Meg didn't lose any teeth until she turned seven, and Matthew, who is now seven himself, doesn't look likely to lose his first for some time yet.

But apparently Esme is on a different time table! Yesterday she pops up in front of me and says, "Mommy, I weally want you to pull out my toof wight now." So I do, with just a couple of light tugs! Bye-bye, baby tooth!

(I have to note that Matthew handled this extremely well. I know he is disappointed that his little sister beat him to this milestone, especially as his first adult tooth has already grown in behind his baby teeth rather than under them [a lovely little trait I passed down to my offspring]. But he's been a valiant little trooper, and very supportive of Es. Way to go, Bug! God is helping you so much!)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Duck

Methinks it is time to resume normal posting, at least insofar as that's possible right now.

The week after Dad died, Dave and the kids and I went straight to North Carolina to enjoy the beach with my parents and sisters. It was a little paradise of buffer between the haze of losing Dad and the inevitable merge back into real life.

We had the most gorgeous weather imaginable. It was in the 70's or low 80's almost every day, and the ocean was incredibly gentle for at least the first half of our stay. The swimmers among us were in the water every day except for one. God was very kind to us in this.

Our little camera broke in September, and I was not in much of a picture-taking mood whilst in Duck. Mostly we focused on soaking in the sun, surf, and love of our family. But Dave did warily allow me to borrow his phone and take a few pictures one morning, after I pinky swore not to drop it in the sand or the water. Of course, I managed to get my finger in most of the shots, so they're all funkily cropped now, but they're much better than nothing.

The kids were enormously content whenever I dug them a "pool" or "bath tub." They would spend endless energy to improve and maintain it until a proper wave came along to fill it up, and then--ahhh, happy splashing.
beach 1

beach 11

beach 2

beach 3

beach 5

beach 8

beach 12

And my favorite shot, of Mom and Judah:
beach 6

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Favorite Picture of Dave's Dad

P1230199

Taken during his last visit to our house in September 2013. We're so, so grateful our kids got to know their Papa Don.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Dad's Bio

With help from Dave, Dacia and Jan, I had the honor of writing the brief biography that a friend read at our memorial celebration for Dad. Here it is, with an updated conclusion.

* * * 

Donald James Wilcox was born March 28th, 1944 in Algonac, Michigan. The oldest son of Alfred and Norma Wilcox, he grew up enjoying the waters of the St. Clair River. He graduated from Algonac High School as a proud Algonac Muskrat.

Moving on to larger mammals, Don enrolled at Western Michigan University and became a Bronco. At Western Michigan he acquired a bachelor’s degree in economics. He went on to complete his MBA and began his career in credit management. He met and married Dawn Beyer, and they settled in the Chicagoland area. In 1976 they welcomed a son, David. In 1983 they adopted a two-year old girl from South Korea. They named her Dacia.

For the next three decades, Don lived and worked throughout the midwest, in Michigan, Wisconsin, and St. Louis, Missouri. Along the way he established lasting friendships and solidified his reputation for friendly sarcasm, love of wit and laughter, stubbornness, and a deep vein of kindness running just under the surface of his wisecracking exterior.

On April 26, 2003, Don married Janet Marie Willis, otherwise known as Jan. They moved to Louisville and began 11 ½ years of marriage, during which Don flourished as never before. He became stepfather to David, Jarrett and Sarah. Between Don and Jan’s five children, they welcomed nine grandchildren, plus a fairy godson named Barrett, to whom they became known as Papa Don and JanJan. They traveled memorably, including a hilariously disastrous hike out of the Grand Canyon. They spent many hours with with friends and family. Don cheered Jan on through endless training and at countless races. And Jan cared for Don faithfully and selflessly as he fought cancer in the final years of his life.

* * *

Don was a man who richly enjoyed connecting with other people. The conduits for the connections he made varied, from Mini Coopers to food to work to medical experiences to intriguing vocabulary words, but the result was always mutual pleasure. Don benefitted, and the person with whom he connected benefitted. There was laughter, and there was the relish that comes from forming a bond with another human being.

At the memorial service celebrating Don's life, someone shared a thought about how dying well is not just about death, but about how one lives up to the moment of death. Don's final diagnosis accelerated his pursuit of relationships rather than retarding it. And the personal connections, the relational investments that Don made during his life shaped his dying days. His wife, his children, his grandchildren, his extended family, his friends flew to his side as his health declined. They wanted to be with him. And they brought him joy as he made the transition from this life to the next. Don died a wealthy man, borne out of the world on the ample arms of affection.

Those of us who were there will not forget the paradox of his last moments: sorrow and riches. Fellowship and tears. A whole room of people bound to one another by our connection to a man who found ways to connect with us.