Love Letter To Kevin , Belle & Zoe
Kevin appeared to be on the mend at one point, so he and Belle decided to move forward with their lives and have a baby. But Kevin’s cancer came back with a vengeance during the pregnancy. When Belle was in labor at Stanford Maternity Department, Kevin was having chemotherapy next door.
Belle called me during labor to ask me to research something for Kevin. Who does that? Having had two children myself I know I was not thinking about anyone else as I gave birth. That is Belle: selfless, brave, and strong.
Baby Zoe was born amidst all of this chaos. It’s ironic how our circumstances can be equal parts pain and pleasure. Kevin was losing his battle with cancer as Zoe emerged into the world, a ray of hope and sunshine.
On Kevin’s first and last Father’s Day, I visited the new family at their home. I had written a love letter to them and wanted to share it in person. I wanted to illustrate how even in bittersweet circumstances their leadership and ability to navigate life tragedies was inspirational to those around them.
At 4:00 a.m. one morning a few weeks later, when Zoe was five weeks old, I was sleeping, and my phone rang. It was Belle.
“I’m at your door,” she said. “Kevin was taken to Stanford by ambulance, and they won’t let me in with a newborn. Can you take Zoe?”
Thus began the slow, painful journey to the end of Kevin’s life. As Belle cared for Kevin, baby Zoe moved in with us. She fit seamlessly into our family, and we fell in love with her. She was a contented baby, but solemn; it was as if she knew that life was not about her then. My children stepped up and helped care for her. I relished having a new baby to love. I fed her by candlelight while she slept. She was not demanding or difficult to care for, it was as if she knew that I was not up for that challenge.
Belle shared with me recently that the best time of her life was that first month after Zoe was born, when she, Zoe, and Kevin were together living as a family at home. Kevin was dying and Zoe was a newborn. Most of us could only handle one of those two circumstances. Not Belle. Her kind of courage is rarely highlighted in the media.
Kevin has been gone three years now. We still miss him.
Cherish each moment. Live and love fully. Be intentional about your life and how you want to show up in it. We never know what is around the next corner.