The Cahoon Family // A Reminder

If I'm being honest, I'm always at a loss for words when it comes to putting my time with the Cahoon family down into words. Although, one thing is for certain... There is a cozy type of warmth in my heart whenever I'm with them, and I know for sure that that feeling I get will never, ever go away.

I look back on all of my memories with the Cahoons, long before Chad became a guardian angel to his family, watching over them and holding their hands as they walk in their journey without him physically present. My love for this family goes way back - back to the days that Laney was still in diapers, the moments I chased Bubby around the house, and the times that Maddie would sit on the couch cuddled up next to me after brushing my hair. Yes - my hair. I loved every second of it. Back to the days when the kids had an agenda and should've been in bed by at least 11:00 - but I would always tell them that they could stay awake if they wanted, and if mom and dad got home early, they would have to pretend they were asleep. Back to the days when Chad and Julie would get home around 1:00 or 2:00 AM and Chad (having had a few drinks) would hand me cash while Julie was off in the kitchen - and surprised, I would hand him cash back and tell him that he had given me way too much and that it was definitely his drinks that were handing me money. I would say "You're going to wake up tomorrow and wonder where all of your drinking money from your back pocket went." He would say "Oh we appreciate ya! Julie doesn't have to know." 

And that's just how Chad was. 

I still remember perfectly the last time I saw Chad. I was sitting at the bar with a few friends while Julie and Chad sat a few seats down from us. The bartender was pouring a shot of what was in my words "tomorrow's hangover." I remember complaining while Chad laughed at me from across the bar and said "Oh, stop being a baby and just take it!"

So I took the shot. And the next day I felt horrible. 

But I'm still thankful to this day for that little moment. That smile on his face as he looked at me and told me to "live a little." I wasn't able to come home much and the fact that I saw him during my trip back home a few days before he passed made me incredibly thankful. These four have been through much more than anyone should have to endure in a lifetime, and every time I feel as though I'm having a rough day, I look to them and am inspired by their strength, their tears, their joy, their laughter - and I remember that each day if a gift to all of us. 

Each breath we breathe, every sunrise and every sunset, every kiss and every embrace - it is a gift. We all deserve happiness and we all deserve the feeling of an amazing love - we deserve to be held and we deserve every "I love you." Because every day is an addition to our path and life happens and our bodies can get scarred, but we are sculpted by the way that we get back on our feet and embrace the life that God has given us.

The journey, although at times painful and full of tears and scraped knees, is a beautiful one and we each are entitled to our own. Their never-ending love as a family is a reminder that "grief does not change you, it reveals you." - John Green, A Fault in Our Stars

Nicole LenderComment