“Death is swallowed up in victory.[d]
55 O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?[e]”
One year, tomorrow. The unthinkable has been our reality for a year. We miss him…more than anyone who has not experienced this type of loss can understand. He was our cheerleader, our guide, our support. He was our rock.
We learned a lot in the journey with cancer. I learned that my husband was an even stronger man than I thought possible. I learned that he walked even closer to God than I had imagined. I learned that in our weakest times, God is there, sometimes in a very physical way. I learned that hope is an important element to the human experience, and I learned that most people cannot even understand—cancer is a special language that only those who have endured can speak. I can’t even really speak it. I had a great translator, however…in Layne.
What are you doing for this day? Well, what DO you do? You get up, just like every other day, and you move forward. You don’t forget, because you cannot forget. A person who was your life cannot ever totally disappear from your life. They may not be seen…but you know they have changed you permanently for the better.
Tomorrow, we will get up and spend some time as a family. We will meet with Sam and Gail, and we will hug them, cry, remember. We’ll smile a lot, as well. Just today, we were laughing at how Layne went through cell phones…and complained that they were all made imperfectly. Of course, we knew that it didn’t matter their quality, no phone can stand up to being beaten on the steering wheel of a Ford truck.
Matthew had an interesting experience recently. He had some breathing difficulties, and we took him into quick care. There, he was given a breathing treatment and put on steroids. The same ones that Layne was given during chemo and for nausea. He became very short with everyone, ravenous, and couldn’t sleep. He asked, “Did Dad feel like this?” It gave him a lot of insight into what his dad felt, though for the most part, Layne covered this pain very well. He refused to admit he was in pain or sick. He got up every morning and went on, as if he were not sick. He was brave for us. Now, we are brave for him.
Throughout the journey, we shared with you some of Layne’s favorite things and songs. I thought, perhaps, this year, some of you might share in these ideas…and remember a man who meant so much to so many around him.
Layne loved to adopt families at Christmas. He never wanted them to know it was us…he said that it was too huge a blessing to also get credit!
He loved to feed the homeless. He kept gift certificates in the truck visor for McDonalds, In N Out, and Wendy’s to give to those who held up signs or asked for help.
He loved to go see the lights with the kids. This will be the first year since we met that our family has not been to the house on Belmont Street to see Santa and just enjoy the ambiance there. He was like a giant kid at Christmas time, savoring all the sights, the sounds, the tastes of the season. The house on Red Coach was another favorite, and we went back night after night, sometimes with and sometimes without the kids.
He loved to put a wreath on his truck, and he loved to see how many cards came in the mail.
And of course, he loved the music of the season. He loved the entire soundtrack from the Polar Express…
Speaking of music, it is appropriate that we leave you with a few of the songs that he loved so much, that have had us thinking of him lately. Of course, anything on a dulcimer…then there were these:
This was one of our favorites not only due to the message, but it also has a dulcimer in it, and it looks so much like our favorite beach… We often said it was amazing we’d been married 22 years…as it seemed like such a short time because we were enjoying the journey so much!
Of course, Layne’s faith was of so much importance to him. He told me that if the kids were older, he would not have even fought the cancer. He fought for us, but he knew where he was going. His faith was that of Paul or Abraham… and he loved this song. It was his fight song during the cancer. Stay strong, you are not lost …
This was one of his favorites. Layne hated to travel. He wanted to be with his family and spend time with us. He told me that I should always remember that he was already home. I think that is a fitting way to leave this post. He is already there, take a look around, I’m the sunshine on your hair, I’m the shadow on the ground. I’m the whisper in the wind, I’m your imaginary friend, and I know I’m in your prayer. I’m already there.
Indeed, he is. One day, we’ll see him again. Save us a place, Dunk.