A Life Changing Cup of Coffee
By: © Betty Sue Eaton
Have you ever had a truth slammed into your gut like the fist of God getting your attention? I had one such experience about six months after my daughter, Paula’s death. As I visited with a new neighbor in our new place of residence, I thought to find comfort in a sympathetic woman about my age. She appeared in her driveway as I planted the flowers – mostly ‘mums’ from Paula’s funeral. She introduced herself as Kathy, and she was accompanied by her two beautiful little daughters, four-year old Elizabeth, and six-year old Elaine.
Chatting for a moment about the mums, I explained how I came by them. She invited me in for a cup of coffee and we continued to share our life stories with each other. I remarked at how much Elizabeth resembles Clyde, and Elaine looked just like her. She laughed and then told me a harrowing story of how she and Clyde came to have the girls.
She said that for four years they had been Mommie and Daddy to two little boys, and for two years they had been Mommie and Daddy to no one. I thought I had suffered the greatest loss any mother – or family- could possible go through, until I heard Kathy’s experience. It seems that she, her husband, Clyde, and their two sons and a nephew were returning to Midland after a summer retreat in Walla Walla, Washington. After a long night drive, they stopped to admire the vistas of the Grand Canyon leaving the two little boys, one aged 4 and the other eight months, in the back seat of the car asleep, while she, Clyde and the nephew got out and stretched their tired muscles. Suddenly, as they watched helplessly, the brakes on the car failed and the car with the little boys inside plunged over the precipice and were gone! Hearing this dreadful story, I was horrified. Her story hit me in the pit of my stomach like a fist and I felt my heart break.
She continued. In their church there were a large number of orphaned children and her girls were two of those. Two years after the death of their little boys, she and Clyde adopted Elizabeth and Elaine and never looked back. “Now, for two years”, she said, “We are Mommie and Daddy to two wonderful little girls. I am pleased that you think they look like us!”
Kathy taught me a wonderful lesson that day without even realizing it. Count your blessings even when one of them has been taken away! After all, I still had two of my children and for a time, she and Clyde had none of theirs. I couldn’t, and still can’t imagine what they must have endured with the loss their entire family at one time, and what strength they had to muster to survive such a dreadful tragedy! There is only one way they could have: They put their total trust in God. They never questioned His will, but instead, chose to move forward and reach out to two little girls who desperately needed a Mommy and Daddy.
I resolved that day, that morning, that I would not second-guess my loss anymore, but ins tead would appreciate all the more having had Paula for a short time and love Pam and Richard even more. I would thank God every day for the blessings He had showered on me and not complain when things did not go strictly according to me, because He is the Master, not me. Kathy will never know the impact her story had on me nor the great lesson she taught me over a cup of coffee, for which I will forever be thankful.