Thursday, November 5, 2009

Susan Kavanaugh

Six years ago this afternoon a big piece of our heart was taken with Susan Kavanaugh on her journey home. After an 8 month battle with cancer, God’s grace and mercy ended her suffering. It was the hardest time we've ever been through so far our lives. She was more than just a mother-in-law to me. She loved me as much as she loved her flesh and blood children…at least I never felt loved any less than them. :)

I first met Susan long before I even knew she even had a son. I will never forget the day. I was a freshman at Darton College. My advisor had allowed me to sign up for a class that had a prerequisite that, being a first-semester freshman, I did not have. So, I had to go to evening registration in the Student Center to drop that class and add another. I stood outside of the locked glass doors waiting with all of the others. It was, by my watch, the precise time that the doors should open. I have to be honest and say that I was a little aggravated that the woman sitting on a chair right by the door would not unlock it. BUT, I just couldn’t get mad because she was so pretty and graceful. She was talking with some other people in the room with her and her smile was so contagious…who could get mad?!? Needless to say, that was Susan. I had no idea that within a little over a year, I would be engaged to her son.

If you did not have the privilege of knowing Susan, I’d like to describe her to you. First of all, she was beautiful and graceful – very easily gave Princess Diana a run for her money! She was the woman in the room that caught your attention no matter how much distance was between you and her. She just drew you in…you had no say in the matter…you were captivated! :)

She loved her family more than life! There is nothing that she wouldn’t have done for any of us. She cooked for us all the time – loved to have us around her table…and as newlyweds we took her up on the offer many times a week. We were her top priority…we never had any doubts about that! Thanksgiving and Christmas are bittersweet for us. This was her favorite time of year and she spent all of the extra time in her days showing love to us. There are so many special memories we hold in our hearts.

She loved her friends. If you were Susan’s friend you reaped the same benefits as her family. And just let her hear that you are either getting married or having a baby and she would spoil you with attention! I love being around all of her old friends to hear stories that go back 30 years ago! It testifies that she was a faithful friend.

She loved Jesus! She knew where her security lied. When Scott and I would be struggling through the first few years of marriage and getting settled financially and in our jobs her first response to every problem we had was, “We just have to pray about!” She never tried to fix it herself or give advice right off the bat. She pointed us to God FIRST. I have no doubt she spent hundreds of hours praying for us!
Susan called me one day a few months before we knew she was sick. We had noticed several personality changes and a few physical things as well. She was at home from work with what we all thought was another sinus infection. Hannah Grace and Emily had spent the night with her a few nights prior to this day. She said, “I was just sitting here in my chair, looked over at the fish (Hannah Grace’s favorite – beta fish in a peace plant) and noticed Hannah Grace’s handprints were left all over it. It made me think of her and I just smiled.” Hannah Grace had left a mark and that mark brought Susan comfort. Here we are, six years after losing such a precious person, and HER marks are still evident in our lives. Each year that passes brings a little more healing but the void is and will always be there. The marks she left, still as strong, makes it bearable.

We often say that going through this experience automatically enrolls you in a club that no one wants to be a part of but once you’re in it, you are a changed person. You can choose to be changed for the better or for the worst. God’s grace has pulled us to the better. He keeps our family ties strong. Each time she poured love on us we were unknowingly sitting in God’s classroom learning how to love one another. She was a great teacher!

Some of you are probably crying at this point…especially if you knew her. But here’s what you must take away: “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in ALL circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” -1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. I watched as my husband read this verse to our whole church just two weeks after his mom died. Was it hard to read? YES!!!! Did he mean it? YES!!!!! Was it even harder to live out? STILL IS!!!!! But know that WHATEVER situation you are in – easy or hard – it is safe to go ahead and praise God for it! I have no doubt that God’s heart broke for us as He watched us grieve. What I also have no doubt about is the comfort He gave and the plan He has! He is a good God – even in the darkest of circumstances. List your blessings today! Write them out on paper! Spend time thanking Him! He is good!

1 comment:

Tammy said...

that was so beautiful..thanks for sharing :)