Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Lessons Learned

JB got a call last Friday. His father was dying and wasn't expected to make it through the day. We rushed to his bedside. Fortunately, my husband was able to say "Good bye" and witness his father's passing.

It was the first time I'd seen death. In the front room of a little bitty house, crowded with people standing around a hospital bed, watching a man that they loved die. It was a life-changing day for me.

I should explain that even though we've been married over 20 years and live a couple of hours from JB's dad and step-mother, I never really got to know them. Years ago, as a young bride, I got my feelings hurt. I didn't feel comfortable around them, I've always felt judged and disliked. We never fought, we just didn't "click." There was a fair (OK, more than fair) amount of disfunction in JB's family and when I added that to my feelings of discomfort, it was just easier to deal with my family. Over the years, we've rarely spent time with them. They rarely call us, we rarely call them.

JB's dad was diagnosed with cancer for the second time about eight months ago. JB increased his phone calls and we made a couple of trips for short visits. Weekend before last we spend a couple hours on Saturday with his dad and step-mother. It was the best, most comfortable visit we've had in twenty years. We even took WB back on Sunday because we wanted him to see his grandfather before it got too scary. He was in fairly good shape and we didn't know what the future would hold. He would be dead five days later.

In the last five days, we've been imersed in this family that we've avoided for twenty years. My son is meeting cousins, and aunts and uncles for the first time. He has been to his first "viewing" and funeral (his choice) and he, like his parents, has processed a lot in a short time.

As a family, we've learned that while we did save ourselves some drama, we probably also missed out on some good things and some good people over some pretty silly issues. We've developed an appreciation for a simplier, humbler life. I've decided that the step-mother-in-law is really an extremely strong, funny and loving woman who values her children and her husband's children equally and is much more accepting than I'd ever imagined. And, JB and I are united in our desire to support her in any way we can.

JB and I do have some regrets, but we know we can't change the past. We can just learn from these lessons and try to keep our children from making similar mistakes in their lives. And I hope, ultimately, JB's dad would be happy about that.


Bill, Paula & Will Cook said...

So sorry to hear about JB's Dad. I've been praying for you guys this week - I know that the big military deployment must not be easy for you all. Just know that you are in our prayers - as is your sweet little girl until she comes home to Momma! :)

David, Shelly and the girls said...

Leigh and JB, I am so sorry to hear about JB's father. I am thankful you got to spend the last hours with him. I"ll be praying for your family.
The Cline Family

Adoption Timeline

  • 01/01/08 - Home at Last
  • 12/24/07 - G & R
  • 12/18/07 - Travel
  • 12/7/07 - Travel Packet/VISA Authorization
  • 12/06/07 - I-600 Approval
  • 11/16/07 - I-600 Received for Review
  • 09/26/07 - Referral
  • 03/23/07 - Log in Date
  • 02/23/07 - Dossier to Vietnam
  • 02/08/07 - Dossier to Agency
  • 08/08/06 - Switched to Vietnam Program from China Program