Born @ 27 weeks
2lbs 7oz

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Life a little less bright.

Our lives changed significantly last January 27th, when we were admitted to the hospital for the unexpected, early arrival of baby Shaw. To deliver a baby at five months pregnant and see the strides he is making each day is remarkable.

Through this 'trial', we quickly learned who are friends are. Many really surprised us. Those that prayed for us and with us. Those that ran groceries. Those delivering food. Those that babysat after they got off work so we could go to the hospital. Those that found their own childcare to help us get to a doctor appointment. Those sending thoughts, cards and gifts to Shaw, welcoming his frail state to this world. Those who called, texted, read our caringbridge site and checked in regularly. Our dear friends, Mike & Jenn Botte did all of these - and more.

My faith is stronger than ever.  How could it not be with so many of our prayers answered? I feel like I could wear a banner everyday that says "God is good".

I have been assuring this to our friend, Jenn Botte, who took Mike to the doctor for nausea eight short weeks ago. Instead of a bad belly, they discovered he had a rare form of Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

As he was first diagnosed, Jenn and I talked 'strategy' of how to handle crisis. How to survive twelve hours at a time, how to have a friend set up and manage the meals to be delivered, how to take care of yourself because it is so easy to get lost in the tests, commuting, the worry and fear.

Michael and I reflected on what meant so much to us while we were in the hospital. So, we sent books to have Mike's voice recorded for their 2yr old, Sophia, so she could hear him at home, while he received chemo in the hospital. We sent food, books, movies, mindless humor for distraction... Mostly, we sent prayers.

You know, it never actually crossed my mind that Mike might not make it. My husband and I have personally seen miracles and that can make you feel 'wise'. Not wise as in powerful, or self righteous, but as in clairvoyant. We can filter the negativity and still see sunshine. We can be grateful for the smallest of things. We remain in awe and still ride the wave of gratitude for the mountains that have been moved. Mike is special. The Bottes are special. I knew the road would be long and I never thought it was going to be easy, but they have Sophia and Jenn is pregnant, due with a son in February. It honestly never crossed my mind that Mike may be called so soon.

My dear friend, Mike, lost his battle to cancer yesterday, just 8 weeks after being diagnosed.

I've been so busy worrying about Jenn, Sophia and their sweet unborn son that I haven't had the chance to stop to think of the unimaginable loss of my friend. His laughter. His zest for travel and music. His ability to be light-hearted, sincere and genuine. His talent at work. His loyalty. His desire to be a father. His friendship to hundreds... hundreds of people. His uncanny ability to appear he is listening, but be a million miles away (he would admit it saying, "sorry. I really have no idea what you just said.") There are too many qualities to list that I love, but one in particular is his adoration for his wife. I worked with Mike in DC ten years ago and I knew all about Jenn, how they met, how she was the best thing that ever happened to him (his words) before the end of my first day. It wasn't until I moved to Charlotte that I had the chance to meet Jenn and see firsthand the special marriage they share.

I can't begin to process what the Jenn, Mike's parents, brother and sister are experiencing. Worse, I don't have any inspiring words to alleviate any of that heartache. Just a tribute to a dear, dear friend and his family that Mike has left an imprint on my heart and hundreds of others for a lifetime. I will cherish the memories, friendship with Jenn and relish the legacy Mike will leave with his two children and so many of us, while I mourn the life of a friend taken too soon. The world is a little less bright without Botte. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's easy to get upset with lifes challenges but taking time to think it can always be worse, much worse, is not always on my mind.. Our hearts go out to the botte family- mike sounds like an amazing person...taken way too soon. Juliet