Russ’s Story

Site created on September 23, 2019

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Journal entry by Pat Van Antwerpen

Dear Russ,

Well, Valentine's Day has been and gone and today was my birthday. It used to be that the evenings and mornings leading up to those days I wouldn't see much of you because you'd be upstairs making a special card for me. Your catch phrase on many of these cards was "My love for you keeps growing stronger." It was astounding to me, absolutely astonishing that you could love me, ME!, so much, so very much--such a crank sometimes, so mean about sharing the bathroom--how could that be possible?--and yet you did, more than any one else except Jesus.

 I woke up this morning with Silas wriggling next to me putting his cold feet on my legs. He brought two hand-drawn, hand-lettered cards, one from him and one from Elena.  And Yanni and Trish have been caring and thoughtful. First on the yearly cross-country ski trip to Bend, OR, last week. There were a couple of mornings I lost it for awhile, missing you, missing your interaction with the kiddos, missing doing stuff with you while they skied with the kids. I was looking forward to putting on the snowshoes they gave us last Christmas, and I did, too,and walked about on the trail, but it wasn't the same without you. It was always fun, always an adventure trying new things together. But what they did when they saw my tears, was reorganize their day to include me by beginning with a snow hike in the morning, and that was great fun.

Loving calls while driving in to work from Nate and then Julie. A text from Yanni over in Honolulu. Hugs and kisses from Silas and Elena. Celebration from Trish. I am so very very blessed with our family. 

Last night I did something, not sure what, maybe the way I breathed, which made me remember your laugh; I thought I heard it! It was not your hearty-voiced laugh, but it was the way you often laughed voicelessly, and I've been doing it off and on all day. Makes me feel close to you. It comes from the back of the soft palate, with the unvoiced /ch/ sound like in the word "chutzpah," when something was just enjoyably entertaining or amusing--ch/ch/ch/ch/. I never realized how much I appreciated that soft laugh of yours! Until I don't hear it any more.
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