Twenty years ago, we had three wonderful children. Karen was still a young chick not even quite 30, and yet, not one, but two ob/gyn specialists we regarded highly said she really should have a hysterectomy. No more kids.
We were stunned by the news. When we were engaged, Karen had wanted a nice, even, ten. After going through three fairly long labors (the first was 36 hours), she had grown more willing to consider modifying that number. But stop at just three???
I, on the other hand, had thought kids would only get in the way of ministry, so I had figured on zero. But that changed for me, too, after the first one materialized and immediately had Daddy so completely wrapped around her little finger.
Maybe they didn't mean she absolutely NEEDED to have that surgery right NOW . . .
We were both thoughtful and quiet the rest of the afternoon. Both quietly talking to God about this.
With the words of those fine physicians still ringing in our ears, we all came to the table for supper. We prayed. I looked around the table and shook my head. I had this definite feeling that was just inescapable. A sense of incompleteness.
"Nope. There's still someone missing."
And so, we had Levi.
And there were two female ob/gyn doctors who made no attempt to hide their displeasure with me. After our fourth was born, there was no question Karen HAD to have that surgery.
Cold, icy glares notwithstanding, I never regretted that decision for an instant. It was certainly one of the very best I ever made. Always been very proud of that one, male chauvinist though it may have been (I am being just a bit facetious. Karen WAS completely on board from the start, of course!).
This evening, December 23, 2016, there were eight of us in the Richards' kitchen: Karen was there, and Carissa, B.J., Danika and Jared, Abel, baby Elliot, and myself.
And there was that feeling. Inescapable.
I counted and thought, then did it again. Yes, I never forgot for a minute that Levi was gone. I took that into account! But it still felt SO, SO WRONG. It was more than a sadness; more than a sorrow of grieving. It made me so very uncomfortable; restless, anxious, just terribly, terribly WRONG.
Someone was missing, and this time, not a single thing I could do about it.
Six months, Wivs.
Love you SO much.