Prep softball

STEVE HANLON: Don't let these 'Days' slip away

2013-05-10T19:15:00Z 2014-04-11T17:50:13Z STEVE HANLON: Don't let these 'Days' slip awaySteve Hanlon Prep Beat nwitimes.com
May 10, 2013 7:15 pm  • 

This weekend, while many of us are in long lines looking to purchase chocolate hearts, candied roses and cards written by some stranger in the Philippines, or we stand in line for three hours on Sunday to have an hour-long lunch, Diane and Morgan Cavinder will be doing Mother's Day weekend old-school.

The two will get up, eat breakfast together, go to church and then have lunch together. The trappings will be few. The experience of simply spending time together is all these two need.

How refreshing.

Morgan is the senior catcher for Kankakee Valley's softball team. Diane, her mom, has had more fastballs thrown at her face than the law of averages should allow.

Taylor Cavinder, the oldest daughter in the Wheatfield family, died in a horrific car accident in 2010, the week before Mother's Day. Somehow the family moved on. In February, Diane found out that she had pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest forms of all.

Yet, Diane is facing this weekend with a smile that could light up the continent.

"People ask me if I'm mad at God and I say, 'No,'" Diane said. "I thank God every day. I am so thankful. I knew I was going to die. I couldn't believe my husband (Dave) and my daughter (Morgan) were going to go through another loss.

"Taylor is up in heaven. She's praying for me. It's all I have."

Really, it's all we all have. But we continue to miss it with all the trappings of the day.

Diane had two tumors on her pancreas. She had surgery April 19. Twenty five people were in the waiting room at the University of Chicago. A short surgery, two hours, means the patient is opened up and closed right away because there is no hope. The cancer has spread too fast.

Diane's surgery lasted 10 hours. When she awakened, she asked the nurses how long the surgery was. She knew the answer held her destiny. When she heard the number 10 she wept. And rejoiced.

"So many people prayed for me," Diane said. "And I felt every single prayer when I was in there. I still do."

On May 1, Diane made it out to watch the Kougars play Griffith in a softball game. Every K.V. player came over and gave her a hug. Morgan gave her a bouquet of flowers. She didn't stand in a long line for these precious plants.

Morgan wrote her mother a letter for Mother's Day in 2010, just after her sister had died. It was from the heart. It wasn't a "Oh no, I forgot to get something."

It said in part, "You are the best mom ever to me and my sister, never doubt that. No matter what you are the best mom I could ever ask for. And Taylor, too."

Diane cried and the two hugged back then. They will surely do the same Sunday. Dave Cavinder will be working. He mows interstate highways. But he should be held up in our thoughts and prayers, too.

"People say you have to play the hand you're dealt," Dave said. "I can't do that anymore. I want a new deck."

But as Diane slowly heals, her husband has seen the girl he fell in love with all those years ago returning to her old self. Joy has replaced angst in their home. Hope has overcome despair.

This is a gift that doesn't need to be wrapped and tossed in a bag.

"This is not a day to be taken for granted," Morgan said. "Kids fight with their moms, it happens. But if you overlook that you will realize your mom is your best friend. She is someone I can count on.

"She is my biggest inspiration. I couldn't have done anything without her. All of us kids need to thank our moms for all they do. I know I am."

 

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at steve.hanlon@nwi.com.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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