“Our Mother had the most amazing ability to love with an abundant heart. I held that heart tightly in dark moments when I wanted to give up. She was always there. Ours was an amazing and unique bond. Happy Mother’s Day to one most deserving to be honored”. – Braden
I’ll never forget the very first moment Cathy and I met. Through friends, we were introduced. A blind date. Both having experience with blind dates, neither wanting anything to do with them.
We called several times. I was impressed by her willingness to listen deeply and her unselfishness. She was a great conversationalist and I was blown away by the sincere joy in her voice. Of course, I played the game. Not calling back for days. Waiting for her to show her cards first.
C’mon. When was she going to call? Well, she never called. That was new to me. This girl didn’t play the traditional dating games I’d become good at playing. As the guy, it was my place to make the call and she wasn’t about to let me get away with anything less.
While we dated, I soon came to learn some interesting things about my future wife. She loved to talk. She REALLY loved to talk. Also, I learned she loved to listen. She had the largest heart of anyone I’d ever known. She was the toughest and most courageous person who never gave thought to herself. That was brand new to me.
Every time I made the drive from College Station to Humble for a date, Cathy would come running from her apartment with her arms held high waiting for a hug. That one experience alone helped me decide she would become my wife. It had been far too long since I’d felt that kind of love.
Fast forward to College Station when we made our home together and began a family. We still laugh about how it began.
One night we watched a documentary about Mother’s Day. It was a touching story about parents who had conjoined twins. I was moved by the story and out of the blue, I said, “Do you think we could make one of those?” She looked at me like I was crazy for a minute. Then, realizing I meant I wanted to start our own family, she fell into my lap crying.
Braden came along as if scheduled nine months to the day when we decided to have him. He was an easy pregnancy and delivery. Traditional. No problems. He was healthy, beautiful, and strong. Yet he needed a sibling.
Soon, we became pregnant again. Three times. Tragically losing all three.
After six years trying, Caitlin finally came along. I could write an entire book about that six year period of time. But this is an abbreviated version of the story.
When I met Cathy, I fell in love almost instantly. When I entered her home the first time, I felt at home.
I was amazed by her heart. Of course it didn’t hurt that she was as beautiful outside as inside. But not until years later did I come to realize that her beauty came from deeper places. I came to learn that she had lost her mother who had been her dearest friend. I became close friends with her father who died tragically two years after Braden came along.
With such losses and the fact that she remained one of the most joyous people I’d ever met, I realized I’d not only married a beautiful and loving woman, but one who had more strength and endurance than any person alive.
Cathy welcomed me into her family of friends. Relationship and community the likes I’d never experienced. These people had walked through life together with every variety of triumph and tragedy. Over 20 years, they have become part of my family and I a part of theirs.
Until Braden died, I had never experienced personal loss. I’d seen it but I had never personally felt it. Cathy and I had talked a lot about this. Realizing it was only a matter of time, like a cloud on the horizon. Little did I know my first experience with such loss would be our son.
This day, I simply wish to briefly acknowledge the blessing of Cathy Speed. Without the strength, courage, faith, and sheer perseverance of this amazing woman, our family would have imploded long ago.
Lord, thank you for sharing with us your very special daughter.