This is Chapter 17 in a series entitled Telling My Story.
It was New Year's Eve - 1987 - and I had no where to go and nothing to do. Statistically, I have read that most married couples, who lose a child in death, divorce within two years. While our son survived, his future was now radically different from the one we had anticipated.
His disability was severe, and permanent, and his father could not accept what God had allowed to occur. Author Larry Crabbe has written an excellent book entitled, Shattered Dreams, which explains far better than I could do, how hard it is for parents when the dream they had for a child is shattered beyond repair.
K.'s dad had, by this time, left the ministry, left me and our daughter (both our sons were in college at the time) and had begun a new life with someone else. He remarried the week after the divorce was final.
# # # # #
So here it was, New Year's Eve, the beginning of the rest of my life, and I was depressed and pretty much clueless as to what to do next. But life does not stop while we "brew and stew" and the fact of the matter was that New Year's Day would be my younger son's birthday. Yes, he was a New Year's baby, although by the time he was born that day, he was number three at that hospital, and thus I missed all the free merchandise and goodies that come with having the first baby of the New Year.
I had been so overwhelmed and sad for so long that year, that I had neglected to get him a birthday present. Now it was nearly 7:00 p.m. and the only department store in our little town was about to close when I rushed in looking for a gift.
A tall, silver-haired, handsome gentleman asked if he could help me, as I wandered up and down the aisles looking for a last minute present. He was one of the managers and was trying to close up the store in preparation for the holiday the next day.
I made my selection and followed him over to the register. As he was ringing up my purchase, I glanced at the cork board to the side of his register and opened my eyes wide in surprise.
"Why that's my niece in that picture!" I exclaimed, as I looked more closely at a "prom shot" of a pretty blonde girl in a formal dress, standing next to a handsome young boy in a tux.
He smiled, as he completed my sale and replied, "Well, that's my son she is standing next to. You must be C.'s Aunt Marsha."
You must remember that it was a very small town, where everyone knew practically everyone else. But I had never met this man, and did not know who he was. He explained that he knew my sister and her family, and thus his son had taken my niece to the prom that spring. He continued to smile as we chatted. But I was still puzzled as to how he knew I was "Aunt Marsha" since I had not told him my name.
Nevertheless, as we talked, and he kept smiling, I felt the stirrings of interest in this guy who seemed to know quite a bit about me, although I had never heard of him. This was very odd.
# # # # #
Later, I learned that as I walked away from him to leave the store, he turned and said to a co-worker, "I am going to marry that lady someday." The co-worker verified that he had, indeed, said that to her the night we met.
So I trudged home with my little gift, still sad and lonely, still confused and hurt, still ticked-off that my life was a mess. But I was on the eve of something new; I just didn't know it yet.
Until next time ... Marsha