I saw God metaphorically move mountains inside of my heart today. I found myself weeping on my kitchen floor at 6 a.m. for a woman whom I used to despise and envy off and on over the past five years. You see, I was married for five years and out of that marriage came the most brilliant and handsome baby I had ever seen. Being his mother you'd probably say I was biased. That may be true but to me, he was perfect and I loved him more than anything including my husband at the time. After our messy divorce, he remarried quickly. I stayed single. Several months passed and he brought her home to Texas to meet the family. Kate entered our lives. Ugh Kate. I found myself being foolish trying to pick off any flaw on her just to make myself feel better. She was pretty, intelligent and thin. So the flaw picking was difficult.
That summer, due to the divorce decree, I had to place my son on an airplane to go see his father…and his new step mom. I was not excited. I hated it. I hated having to say goodbye for six weeks every summer to him to go spend time with this other woman. Was he going to call her "Mom"? Was she going to make better food for him, does she realize he needs to be read at least two books to get to sleep or better yet, does she know he likes to read the books out loud himself? Did she think she could out-do me in the cookie department? These foolish thoughts would fill my head. My son would come back from his summers away hugging and kissing on me so much I got over my irrational fears quickly. I found myself wondering, what do you call Kate and even asked him. He answered quickly "I call her Kate." Perfect, I thought.
This woman, I had yet to call her "Kate" would call to speak to Troy on the phone during the week, and I would begrudgingly hand him the phone. Then, she would try to talk to me. Ha. "Why does she think I want to talk to her?" I would have these long conversations with my mom who would try to talk sense into me saying I was lucky to have someone who cared enough to keep a relationship going throughout the year with us. I'd reply with something like "Mom, she took our place. I don't want a relationship with that person."
One day though, Kate caught me having a rough time. She called at just the right moment that day, and I confided in her some personal information. She then confided in me and we stayed on the phone for half an hour. That was our longest conversation yet. These conversations kept happening nearly once a week over the course of about two years. I started to really like Kate. I even started calling her Kate. She was kind and thoughtful and good at remembering things that I had previously said. I learned quickly though, do not get in an argument with Kate -- you will not win. She's good. She makes valid points. She's quick witted and smart. I loved it.
Summertime would come quickly and off my son would go again to visit his father and Kate. He would be so excited, and after growing in my likeness for Kate, I started being excited for him. She was so great about sending photos, video chatting and posting to social media. Kate taught me that it was possible to have a relationship between two moms who were at one time or another married to the same man. She showed class and maturity. She was exactly what the two families needed to make peace of an otherwise awkward situation. She showed not only me, but all of us how to get through this life without losing our dignity and grace and to just be nice. I began to look forward to my talks with her. I would even bring her up in conversation with others, just to explain how great she is to me and my son.
After a battle with symptoms of liver failure, I've just been advised that Kate is now terminal and living her last weeks/days in a hospital at 31 years old. She now has a 4-year-old of her own whom she will leave behind. I have been in constant prayer for this woman who I used to wish never existed. I find myself saying things out loud between wiping tears and yelling "I don't want anyone else, I want Kate, I need Kate!" This woman was brought into our lives for a reason. Kate is a true angel on Earth who will be taken far too soon. Kate, there are no words that can express my appreciation for you coming into my life. Thank you for taking care of my son during those summers when I didn't even want to know you. He always returned home safe. You did your job perfectly, leaving me with the knowledge of how to show grace and class in all situations. Earth was your temporary home and when you awake in the kingdom of Heaven you will find yourself being held in the arms of Jesus. You will be missed and thought of every single day. You deserved so much better than this imperfect life could offer.
Update Sept. 21, 2016: Kate passed away with her father and husband by her side
Read her blog here: https://melissarenick.wordpress.com/2016/09/05/tell-them-now/