August 30, 2010

In Memory of My Bubba

Last Sunday evening, while preparing supper at my in-laws house, I noticed that I had missed call from my Mama. As I was preparing to call her back, I received the alert that she had left me a voicemail. I checked the message. She said simply “Kimberly, please call me.”

For my Mama, that meant something serious was happening. I called her back and was informed that my cousin Barry had been admitted to the ICU for chest pains and shortness of breath. “But everything is checking out okay.” Mama said “I told your Aunt to call us if anything changes.”

One hour later things changed. A CT of the heart, showed that my cousin had an aneurism in his aorta that had enlarged to 6 cm. He was going to be transferred to a larger hospital in Savannah and would undergo immediate surgery. I commented to M “This is just how things started with my Uncle.”

M assured me that my cousin was younger, healthier, and that even the physicians stated that he should make a full recovery. At 10:03 p.m., I received the first text that he was headed into the O.R. At 5:25, I received a text that he was finished with surgery and resting comfortable. At 6:30, he was back in the operating room….

With each text, I felt my emotions swinging back and forth. I kept praying “Let him be okay…let him be okay.” I headed into work, with the plan that M and I would drive down later that afternoon to visit him in post-op. But at 8:15, I received a text that stated things had taken a turn for the worst…. We were advised to head to the hospital. I called my parents, dropped Joycelen off at daycare, and we started towards Savannah. As we drove out of town, I received the call – my cousin Barry was gone – just 39 years old, leaving behind a beautiful wife Jennifer, and two daughters, Hannah who is 9 and Haleigh who is 3.

Barry was a larger than life persona. He loved his family, music, and Jesus. He never met a stranger, always had a smile on his face, and loved to make people laugh. As an only child, I often asked him if he had ever wished for siblings. He would always respond “Nope, Pearl (his nickname for me), why do I need siblings – when I have you?”.

And it is true, although we were just cousins – our mothers sisters – we lived as though we were brother and sister. I adored him, and followed him around as a little girl – and then as I grew older he became one of my closest confidants. In turn, he offered brotherly advice, and would grill any of the boys I brought home from college. And like so many brothers and sisters do, we fought – since we were both headstrong, we would often disagree and hold our ground. But then with a single joke, the fight would be over. I last saw him at Easter. I remember that I was holding Joycelen – he walked over, told me again how beautiful she was, then hugged me and said “I love ya, Pearl.” My response was “Love you too Bubba.”

I would never have imagined that that would be last time I would say those words to him. Needless to say, it was a difficult week for our family. But we take comfort in knowing that while we feel pain, Barry is at peace. We know that he professed Jesus Christ as Savior, and as such is now rejoicing with the Lord in Glory. And I know that someday, I will see him again.


MB said...

I'm so sorry for your loss.

Jennifer said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I will be praying for you.

thePiks said...

We don't know each other, but are connected through Jennifer and the What's For Dinner Mom's blog. I'm so sorry for your loss. What a blessing to know that he is with Jesus. You and your family will be in my prayers. Amanda

Kari said...

Kimberly, I'm so very sorry. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family.

Thank you for your sweet message - it's good to be back, and I'll try to keep it up!