I will never forget the news I received in June 2009. I was hugely pregnant with Noah. We had just completed our annual one week vacation at the beach and were returning home when my phone indicated that I had an email. Being bored while Chris drove home, I opened my email and my heart sank. The email was from our good friend Kevin. He explained that he had gotten the news from the doctor that he had been diagnosed with cancer. He went on to explain the events leading up to his diagnosis and explained the prognosis, which was good. We were shocked and saddened. The Weeds (see my explanation below) rallied around him and began sending messages of love and encouragement.
Shortly after his diagnosis, Noah was born. Unfortunately, we found ourselves dealing with our own family health crisis. The Weeds rallied around us this time and brought meals, love and encouragement. One day at church, we were presented with a special gift for Noah. Kevin and his family had a shirt made. On the front, were the words The Mighty Noah and on the back were the words Trach This. Kevin had given Noah his special nickname and his first trach this t shirt. Throughout the whole 4 months Noah was in the hospital, Kevin constantly asked about him. He was always concerned with his progress and when most people's interest was only polite, Kevin's was genuine. When finding out about CCHS he asked us so many questions. Later, when Noah was released from the hospital and we began all of his therapies and had all of his swallow studies, Kevin wanted to know all about it and seemed genuinely interested. He didn't just listen. He asked questions and seemed eager to learn about CCHS.
Noah's first outing after being released from the hospital was our annual Weeds Christmas party. Kevin was so excited to see Noah in person for the first time. He held him and talked to him. Throughout Noah's life, Kevin was there, commenting, showing interest and loving Noah.
Flash forward 6 years later and we are attending the church for Kevin's memorial. There was much sadness but in the midst, much happiness for the fact that we had been his friend. He will always be remembered as a fighter, like the Mighty Noah. His love for his family was deep. His love for his friends was evident. He will always be one of my favorite people. One of my most favorite memories of him was shortly after Noah was born. I was in the midst of travelling to the hospital twice a week for Noah's therapy and had many endless sleepless nights. Our friends were still there but they didn't really ask us to help with anything for fear of intruding. I was removed from a committee at church, which was fine and I know it was meant as a kind gesture to help us. But, it made me feel somewhat isolated and not as useful as I had previously been. During this time, Kevin asked me to make dinner for his family. His wife was having some kind of procedure and he wanted dinner for his girls. I was so excited. Yes, it was a pain to take Noah as an infant to the store and get the stuff, come home, and make it. But it was the best feeling ever. Someone needed me to do something and it made me feel "normal" again. Kevin did not let Noah's condition stop him from including us. I will forever be grateful to him for that.
Kevin was always there with a ready hug and his big smile. Sure he could have a potty mouth and he was very strong in his opinions but he was one of the good guys. He leaves behind a whole community of mourners. His wife and his 3 young daughters will certainly feel his loss more than anyone. But looking around the church at all the people paying their respects shows the type of man he was and how much he was loved. I saw a whole row of his coworkers, I saw former college class kids that were now grown up adults (Kevin taught a college age Sunday School class), I saw youth that were now grown (he was also the Youth Minister for several years), I saw older church members, I saw rows full of the girl's soccer team who had come to pay their respects. People of all ages were there, remembering him and celebrating him.
I sincerely hope he realized how much he was loved. I deeply regret that we didn't spend more time together. I think my husband said it best:
Father, Husband, Son, Musician, Follower of God, Bozo the Clown, Jesus Impersonator, Blogger, Advocate, Athlete, Fighter, Runner, Fantasy Football god, Manager, Youth Director, Leader, Football Fan, McRib Lover, Teacher... The list goes on but I am most glad that to me he was always a Friend
Kevin and The Mighty Noah
Kevin had a blog. Below is my all time favorite blog that he wrote. The whole blog can be found at
My favorite passage that he wrote is this:
i am not very well versed on being the victim of a curse. perhaps, you don't know that you are, in fact, cursed until you come out the other side. let's take a look at certain proverbial stones that struck the heads of the weeds class in 2009.
the death of a husband/father/friend.
the celebration of a newborn child tempered by the realization that something is amiss.
the passing of the mother of one of our emeritus members.
why did all of this happen to us? was it because we didn't get along very well with the previous pastor and he has used his black magic, upon leaving, to ruin our lives? well, that's my theory, but i am rarely (and by "rarely" i mean usually) right about anything.
were we just unlucky? maybe in some terms. in others, though...
i lost a kidney, but not my life.
our class was blessed with healthy twins and a fighter in the mighty noah that will make all of us, most especially his incredible parents, better human beings.
one of us was a serviceable lay leader.
one of us rejoined our church's staff.
one of us will manage our facility with a strong, yet humble, hand.
one of us (with the help of the rest of us) will always make vbs rock even if she says this year is her last year.
one of us is now a city councilperson and can get me free stuff (oh yeah, and change her church AND her city for the better)
one of us continues to make our daycare a place worthy of a waiting list.
one of us championed our children, challenged our council and then led the way by shepherding our many faces of our future, herself.
one of us will bring our worship technology into the current millenia.
one of us will set an example for all our of church's mothers through the trials she has and will continue to overcome at home.
one of us, with his "questions", got this ball rolling.
were we cursed after june? as far as this blog was concerned, um, yes. absolutely.
in reality, crappy things happened, but lessons in perspective through the victories that we enjoyed together will forge, for us, a brighter tomorrow. that's a promise.
good riddance, 2009. don't let propaghandi hit you on the way out. because they will hit you. hit you in the face with my best record of the year.
the end of my world as i knew it.
Our Sunday School class is called the Weeds. Weeds are strong and thrive even in harsh conditions. Weeds are scattered everywhere. Weeds are beautiful in their own way. I think this is a wonderful way to describe Kevin. Even though he was facing a terminal illness, he handled it with bravery. His wife, Sarah, is so strong and stood by him through it all. Rest in peace my dear friend. Know that your girls will always have someone to go to if they need it.
To Tanya and Donald, Brad and Kathy, Deborah, Kim, Kevin and Sarah, and Chris and myself, Donna, (and even Katie and Chris later on). We will always be the Weeds. May we honor Kevin's memory, love and support his family and live our life to the fullest until we meet him again. #ftcs.