I Spy a Family

Kathy Glow essays

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It was one of those rare late summer evenings. The kind when the air is cool rather than humid and the locusts are silent rather than buzzing. No wind, no clouds-just clear, beautiful stillness.

Knox and Lil' C were in the back yard with Hubby, who was throwing baseballs.  Knox was knocking the heck out of them, and Lil' C was cheering him on.

Baby E was waiting by the back door, and I let him out just as I would shoo a puppy out to play.

Slim was in the basement scripting adventures for his Star Wars characters. I was busily wiping the counters and washing every last pot in an attempt to leave more time to cuddle with the boys before bed. A cool breeze wafted through the screen door.

Suddenly I was hit with a feeling of contentment that I hadn’t felt in a really long time. 

Maybe since before Joey's cancer diagnosis.

More often than not when all of the boys are having fun, I am washed with sadness and anger. I think about the what-ifs and the why-hims, and I'm filled with bitterness and envy for those families that are whole and complete. I have a deep ache in my heart that feels as if it will never subside.

But this night felt different. It felt sweet and other worldly, so different than what I have been feeling for the past three years and four months. Like I was someone different, and I was looking at a different family who had been through different circumstances.

I have a deep ache in my heart that feels as if it will never subside.

– Kathy Glow

By the time I was finished with my kitchen chores, Hubby had lit a fire in the outdoor fireplace and the boys had gathered around it. I turned on some jazz music loud enough to be heard in the backyard, and went out to join my family.

Knox had found a flashlight. He was holding it under his chin and telling spooky stories. Hubby and I laughed in sinister voices- mwa ha ha -and Lil' C was riveted to every word Knox uttered. Slim would laugh and add a bit to Knox's story here and there. Baby E was toddling from one of us to other as we patted and hugged him and tossed him toys.

And that's when it happened: I spied a family.

A family that, although they may yell and argue, still knows how to laugh and love.

A family that knows how to go on even though there is a hole in their hearts and an empty seat around the fire.  A family that is living as their brother would live: in the moment, the goofy, silly moment.

Instead of being angry and bitter that Joey is gone, I smiled thinking how much like Joey Knox has become.

It made me happy to know that pieces of him are going to live on in surprise ways that will hit us and fill our hearts with joy.

That joy will never replace the sadness we feel nor fill the empty hole left by our sweet Joey's absence; but it will help us to go on, to be that family I spied. The family that must accept what their numbers are, not what they should be. The family that must work to find joy most of the time and be surprised when joy finds it some of the time.

I spied a family that has finally learned how to move forward, not holding on to the past, but carrying a piece of it with them.

About the Author

Kathy Glow

Kathy Glow lives in a house of all males-a husband and four lively boys. When she is not wiping boy stuff off walls or driving all over town in her mini-van, she is blogging about what life is really like after all your dreams come true, including the loss of one of her sons to cancer. Her blog is .

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