A Man of His Word….


Oh no! What happened this time? Is somebody hurt? It is 11:10 p.m. at home in the US.  I should send a text just to make sure the kids weren’t in an accident, and that my mom and dad are ok. I picked up my phone and wondered who I should text first since I don’t know how to group text, I had to choose Amy or Eric. Amy seems to go to bed earlier these days so she is probably asleep and Eric lives with a bunch of Frat guys and probably not asleep.  I was about to make my decision when Mindy walked into my classroom.

But let me back up just a bit so you can understand just why I thought I should text  my kids in the first place. Since I became a mom I have always been able to “know” when something wasn’t quite right with my kids, simply by a feeling I get in my heart or gut, a mother’s intuition, I guess you could call it.  It could be they were ill, something wonderful had happened, or worse, they were in trouble. I felt something so strong on Friday, March 16 at 12:10 p.m. that I had to stop what I was doing just to catch a breath. The feeling truly took my breath away. WHEW! I will never forget that feeling or the news I learned just minutes later.

Thoughts are racing through my head and my heart is pounding! Why does Mindy look so sad and concerned?  Did someone from home call the school and send her to tell me bad news? But wait, I don’t think the kids have the school’s phone number in Shanghai. Do they? No.

It is amazing how many thoughts a person can have in less than 5 seconds, which is about how long it took for Mindy to walk in, sit down in front of me, ask me what I was doing and had I read my emails?

Ok, who has the school email address? My friend Matt does, but would he have sent an email to school to send someone in to tell me news from home? What news would he know? No, that doesn’t make sense. Does it? He is considerate enough to think like that, but would Amy or Eric have called (well, texted since nobody calls anybody anymore) Matt to tell him important news? Doubtful, but Amy might have texted him to see if he had a phone number.  My mind is racing with thoughts! That feeling I had minutes earlier is now turning to heartache. This feeling IS about one of my kids. I just know it!

Mindy had hoped to catch me before I read my emails that many people had just received. She told me that Cory had passed away. Cory and his wife Linda are former colleagues at our school in Shanghai and great friends. In January, Cory was diagnosed with cancer while in China. They were able to fly home to the great state of Washington on Valentine’s Day and by mid March, Cory left us to be in the most Glorious Place of All, Heaven.  He is no longer in pain and is now walking with Jesus and playing with MY son! Cory loves kids, especially all of his precious grandchildren that he spoke so frequently about. All of the kids at school wrote or made a card for Cory and he read each and every one of them and hung them on the wall in his hospital room while he was in China. He took them to America with him when he went home. They left so many things behind as they had to keep their weight under 50 lbs. per suitcase, but those cards were going home.

Linda and Cory Neville

Linda and Cory Neville

Let me tell you how I know he met my son, Clifton. When Cory learned he had cancer and that it was spreading throughout his body, he made me a promise from his hospital bed in Shanghai. He said when he got to Heaven he would find Clifton for me and tell him that his mom loves and misses him everyday.  With Cory being a great friend and a man of his word,

I had no doubt he would do this for me. At 12:10 p.m. on March 16, 2012 I had a feeling about one of my kids. This time it was Clifton. I know now that my little boy knows I haven’t forgotten him and I love and miss him everyday. Cory kept his promise.

The feeling in my heart went from heartache to joy in a bittersweet sort of way.

Bitter-I had lost a truly great friend.

Sweet-knowing my kids were ALL ok now,

I wonder now if moving to China was God’s plan for me? Was I supposed to meet these two incredible people who continually think of other people, when in reality they had so much to think about on their own and about themselves? It is amazing how God puts people together.

Cory and Linda are so rooted in their Mormon faith and they know this was God’s chosen path for Cory, still it doesn’t take away the pain and sadness of losing your best friend and husband. Linda, please know physically I am thousands of miles away, but in spirit I am there with you. May it bring a smile to your face to know that Cory is still a great friend and a man of his word.  Thank you for letting me be a part of your lives.

About cessley

I am a bereaved parent. I write to give hope to other bereaved parents who are fresh in their grief. I want them to know life begins again. It (life) is forever changed, as are you, but one day, you will smile again. You may travel, you will make new friends, your heart will mend, though never heal and it will be a painful ride. It is one step at a time....sometimes, even one breath to the next is all we can seem to live through each day. But each day will be a new beginning, a different beginning, a different you. I have two surviving children: Amy, who is married to Brandon, and they have one daughter, Avery, and one son, Dylan. and Eric who is a doctor and is Clifton's twin brother. Clifton passed away when he was nearly two years old. As any bereaved parent knows, it is tough, REALLY tough trying to live after the death of a child. I lived in Shanghai, China for three years after the death of my son, and then lived in Beijing for two years. I am discovering life again, one step at a time. I returned to Oklahoma in February , 2020 due to the uncertainty of the virus. Little did I know the uncertainty would follow me across the ocean. This is nothing compared to the death of a child. I will survive! View all posts by cessley

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