As I crawl back into bed this morning, hot coffee next to me on my night stand, bible on my lap, I begin to reflect back 32 years ago.
As a recently divorced young, Mom with a 3 1/2 year old son and a 2 year old daughter expecting my 3rd child any day, I headed off to work at 4:00 am as I did everyday. About 10:00 in the morning I started getting some pretty intense cramps. I dismissed them to just more false labor pains, as with my other 2 children labor pains started very intense and just moments apart. Not a by the book 15-20 minutes apart, cramping feeling with increasing intensity.
I continued to work as this was my only means of support for my children. I casually kept an eye on the clock as every 15 minutes or so I would have another round of the strong cramps. My friends nearby were encouraging me to go to the hospital as they thought I was in labor. I kept reassuring them that this wasn’t how my labor proceeded. I finished my shift at noon, stopped and picked up my two little darlings and headed home. Now I’m beginning to think that possibly I am in the beginning stages of labor. My first labor was 5 hours and my second was 3 hours and typically each delivery is shorter. I had an hour drive to the hospital so I wasn’t even sure that I would make it to the hospital with this one?
I lived in a very rural part of Oregon. I’ve never been one to panic or cry wolf, so I would just wait until I was sure I was in labor. As a single Mom this delivery would be very different from the previous two. I would be alone, no one there to hold my hand or coach me in this natural delivery, no one to share in the gift of this precious life. Their father was an alcoholic and very abusive and had tried to kill me and when I realized that his abuse probably would pass on to my children, I fled and filed for divorce. Two weeks later I found out I was pregnant and the Dr thought he heard two heart beats. Yes I was going to have twins and double the size of my family. How would I ever survive??
Two weeks before the delivery they did an ultrasound to make sure both babies heads were down and found there was only one child. I had mentally prepared myself for twins and now there was just one. I was sure I was having twin girls and had girl names picked out but not a single boys name.
By now the pains have increased and are getting closer together. I decide to call my girlfriend who was going to take the children while I had the baby. I pick up the phone to dial and the phone is dead, no dial tone. Not to worry I will just use one of my neighbors phones. I run (okay so at 9 months pregnant I didn’t run, I waddled) next door but nobody is home. Then I head to the next house, no one there either. Okay, no worry, I still have 2 more across the street, no one there at either one of those homes?? Okay no phone to call for help, no neighbors in this rural community here, HHhhmmmh, Plan C. I’ll just grab my keys, put the kids in my car and drive to the hospital. As a single Mom you have to be creative.
Okay where are my keys??? I know I left them on the table. I scan the entire house looking for them but nowhere to be found? I ask my 3 year old and he replied “Cheryl had them.” Great my 2 year old has the keys hard telling where they are? I begin calling “Cheryl, Cheryl.” Where is she? In the midst of all the craziness she had snuck out the front door and was playing in the front yard. We had just moved into this new home and it hadn’t been landscaped yet so it was just mounds of dirt and there is my darling little daughter who taken off all of her clothes but her shoes and was playing in the dirt. I shake my head and wonder to myself what else could possibly happen today.
I call my 3 year old son Kris to come help Mommy find the keys in all of this dirt. Okay, okay so now I’m starting to panic a little. This isn’t funny. No keys, no phone, no neighbors. The pains are getting much closer and I know my little of bundle of joy will be hear soon.
Time for Plan D, I know I can’t walk very far in labor with a 2yr old and 3 year old. Let’s see the Indians used smoke signals, is that one puff or two for help??? I realize that the only option left is probably that I am going to have to deliver my new little one at home with the help of my 3 year old.
Oh my, let’s see they always boil water on TV when a delivery is about to take place, and towels, will need towels. I’m busy gathering what I think we will need when the phone rings. It’s my girlfriend Sandy who informed me that I had been heavy in her thoughts. I tell her to come get me NOW. On the way to the hospital I retell the events of the morning and what a blessing it was that she had called. I later learned that because of all of the construction in the area someone had cut part of the cable and no one could call out but calls in were still getting through.
I did make it to the hospital and was blessed with a beautiful, tons of dark hair, brown eyed, little boy. “BOY” ??? I was sure it was girl. Now I needed a name for a boy. I’ve just gone through an traumatic day and the process of having a natural child birth with no drugs, all alone and I need a little time to rest, hold my precious gift and enjoy the blessing. The name can wait until later. No matter what I call him that won’t change the gift that I had been given on March 20, 1978.
I had planned on a 3 day stay at the hospital. After all I did have insurance that would cover the birth. My previous deliveries, one of the first questions they asked when they were considering discharge was “Do you have other young children at home?” I was a single Mom with a 3yr old and 2 yr old. The next questions was do you have help. I had no help, when I got home it was me and the kids. Check, check, and check! That should do it and by me some time. I also had surgery after Marc was born, so I was looking forward to being taken care of several days in the hospital before I went home to my new life as the single Mother of 3 children, 3 and under.
The next morning the nurse came in and informed me I needed to pick a name for baby boy as I was being discharged today as they needed my hospital bed. WHAT???? Okay how do a come up with a name for my precious boy, just like that?
My menu for the day was laying on my tray table and there were other papers near it, with one overlapping on the date of the Menu, March 21st. The paper covered up the h and 21st. What stood out at me was Marc. Marc I like that I thought. That’s it his name will be Marc. Marc used to say “Great Mom you got my name off of a menu?” It wasn’t until years later when I learned that Marc means Mighty Warrior. God had sent a post it note to me that day to give me the name for this young man who would grow up to be a hero that would change the world and sacrifice his life so that other’s could live. Mighty Warrior he was!
This morning as I sat in my bed sipping my coffee, remembering Marc on his birthday, tears flow down my cheeks, knowing how much I miss him. Oh how I wish he were hear today celebrating his special day with family and friends.
As Parents we assume that we will have our children for the rest of our lives. That we will watch them marry, have children, impact the world with their careers, celebrate holidays and take care of us when we get old. That was always going to be my payback for my children One day they would have to feed me, wipe the droll from my mouth and change my diapers.
That wasn’t God’s plan for Marc, or for me. I would have him for 28 years in my life and then would share him with the rest of the world. We need to cherish each and everyday we have with them.
So many people have so many memories of Marc, how he impacted their life and changed their world. I love hearing those stories. Marc not only changed this world by how he lived everyday but how he left this world. He willingly gave all of his tomorrows, his future, so that his buddies could have their today and their tomorrows. He did that so YOU could have your today and your tomorrow. He left a legacy in his sacrifice and his last letter home, his “Glory letter” that continues to change peoples lives today.
John 15:13 says”Greater love has no man than this that he lay down his life for his friends.” that’s what Marc did. He set an amazing example of love and then in his “glory letter” challenges us to pass on that love. In that letter he says” I’m not saying look at me” because he admits his failure before he deployed. Yet as we look back at Marc’s final actions that day he did pass on “the love, the kindness, the precious gift of human life.”
Marc had an example to follow too, his Father, not his earthly Father who wasn’t part of Marc’s life, but His Heavenly Father. That’s who that verse John 15:13 was originally written about. Christ showed amazing love for each one of us and gave his life so that we could live for an eternity. He calls us friends. Wow! Now that’s even greater love. Marc’s friends tell stories over and over how Marc deeply impacted their lives. You see a friend knows and remembers these things. Can you do the same for Christ? Is he your friend? Can you tell other’s what he has done for you?
I have struggled through numerous tragedies and grief in my life and I have often shared about the strength Christ gives me and that He is my friend. He is the reason that I can get through the deepest pain a parent can go through and survive. He is the reason I have hope. Today as I remember Marc and celebrate his birthday without the honored guest I cling to that hope. I know Marc would want you to cling to that hope also. One day when my time on earth is done and Christ calls me home I know that Marc will be there to escort me into the presence of my King, my Lord, my Savior. I hope you have your reservation in and I will see you there.
In Marc’s honor today and to celebrate his birth please read his “Glory Letter” and pass on “the love, the kindness, the precious gift of human life” by doing a random act of kindness.
Remembering my Mighty Warrior!