What's been keeping me so busy, you ask? Well, since Bethany's senior night a few weeks ago, our lives have been absolutely consumed with basketball. Over the last few weeks, the Lady Panthers have won the conference championship, the district championship, and then Saturday night, they won the regional championship. Please indulge me as I share a few pictures from the final game with you...
The tip. Look at that #25 jump! :)
We had actually already played this team three times this year, twice in the regular season and then again to win the district championship ... a close game each time. We were on opposite sides of the bracket in the regional tournament, and wouldn't you know, we had to face each other again in the finals. Take a look at the final score (we were the visitors)...
Here are the senior girls immediately after the game. These girls have played together since fifth grade, and this was an emotional moment for them. I love this picture.
Celebrating the victory!
And a hug for Dad...
Oh, but we're not done yet! Tomorrow night, we'll be watching Bethany and her team play in the first round of state tournament. I can't wait!
The last three years, we've spent February 26th very quietly, visiting Hannah's grave and just having some special family time together. We've shared memories and spent time laughing and crying together. Tomorrow will definitely be a change from that. This year, we'll be spending the day noisily ... yelling and screaming and jumping up and down as we watch the Lady Panthers play ball. And hopefully, the day will end with shouts of victory!
One thing I've had to fight off over the last few weeks is sadness that Hannah is not here to share these moments with her sister. Hannah was truly Bethany's number one fan. One of her very last public outings (besides to the oncology clinic) was to the gym to watch her sister play. Unable to walk without assistance, she entered the gym with one of us supporting her on each side. We got her seated, and she proceeded to whoop and holler her sister on to victory. I remember that she ate her favorite ball game snack while she was there ... a frito chili pie. She was wearing her wig and her face was swollen from steroids, but she really didn't care. She was determined to be there to support her sister.
Do I think that Hannah still watches her sister play ball from Heaven? Do I believe she was jumping up and down along with Bethany on Saturday night when they won regionals? Mmmmmm ... I don't know. Maybe. Or maybe she's so enthralled with the majesty and glory of Heaven and her Savior that she can't tear her eyes away. I don't know.
But here's something that has really helped this month. There are some very special people who have taken a particular interest in Bethany. And these folks (we've started calling them her "fan club") have been coming to her games, cheering for her, and supporting her. They're there to greet her after the games with hugs and encouraging words. And when they can't be there, they are texting me requesting scores, following my Facebook posts, or calling me to find out who won the game.
And these folks have really made a difference. What a way to make a girl feel loved! And I'm just gonna say, when someone takes a special interest in your child like that, it means so much to a parent. Those are the things that a parent never forgets.
Would these people be such a big part of our lives now if Hannah hadn't gone to Heaven? Some would, just because they are great folks and we already knew them through our church or other places. But some of them we never would have met if we had not lost our daughter. And, to be honest, I really can't imagine these people not being a part of our lives. I can't tell you how our lives have been enriched by their friendship.
When Hannah left us for Heaven four years ago, I could not have anticipated the ways the life of our family was going to change. The bad stuff, which there has been plenty of, I could have predicted. But who would have thought that God had so many blessings in store for us? I certainly couldn't see it at that time. But, as I look back over the past four years, I am grateful for His goodness, even through my tears.