Jeff is or was a planner. He knows or knew exactly how much money it would take to send each of his three children to college. He was and still is in love with a beautiful woman, my cousin Renee.
Renee had a brain tumor. She doesn't anymore.
She had surgery.
I saw her in the recovery room, the very first time I had ever seen anyone change in an instant. Not Renee, she had not changed. Post surgery with a big white gauzed bandage around her head in a room of white and silver, placed center she still glowed. Smiled then chastised us for cutting the girls' trip short, said she might could have come later in the week. She had no idea the death sentence the doctor had just given her.
I told her there could have been no way we could have stayed in Florida without her.
So we chatted, as much chatting as you can do in a sterile environment. And Renee, it appeared, had not changed. A mass had been removed from her brain, there was physical evidence of the aftermath plastered on her head, yet she seemed so the same.
Jeff, on the other hand, had become something else. Not himself.
I can't look now at what that is or what that was and say good or bad. Just that it is. Just that Renee is still alive and laughs and works harder than most anyone I know raising a boy and a set of twin girls and being one of the best teachers in the state of Mississippi, the kind you request for your kid. She continues to be grace and beauty and love walking.
And Jeff does the exact same things as Renee. In fact, I consider them to be an incredible couple. Two people with whom you love to share a dinner or a vacation. Still, they are that. Yet Jeff, the is or was a planner, learned in an instant, a blink of the eye, a momentary cellular shift, that no amount of planning is going to ensure your end results. Sometimes life just throws some shit your way and all you're left with is hope.
But then again hope is better than no hope, huh?