One of my favorite things Derek ever did for me, was around the second or third year we were married I was pretty low on my brother’s birthday (who passed away in 1999). Derek unexpectedly picked me up at work and took me to Nordstrom’s on Michigan Avenue. In his bigger than life fashion, Derek gathered all of the Nordstrom workers around him and told them that I was his wife, love of his life and was having a bad day; therefore they were to spare no attention and no cost and treat me like I was Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. I walked out of Nordstrom’s with my first pair of Seven jeans, a great jacket and a fun shirt…feeling like a million bucks and so in love with my husband for lifting my heart. I could sure use a “Derek pick me up” these days. Thanks for always making it easy to smile on days when it was hard.

Birthdays are a day to celebrate life. A day really dedicated to celebrate a particular person that you love. When you have lost multiple people in your life birthdays have mixed emotions. A little known fact but September is the month with the most birthdays. I guess because it is nine months from the holidays…anyway more babies are born in September then any other month. I have always loved birthdays. Make a big deal about other people’s birthdays…surprise parties (friends, mom, 2 for Derek), 18 balloons on my friends’ 18th birthday, practically a week celebration for my kids birthdays, banners across their door for them to run through in the morning, cards, etc. And to be totally honest I love when people make a big deal about my birthday. Kind of silly and maybe a little self indulgent, but I love birthdays. Birthdays have also been a day that I have remember people I have lost. I celebrate and remember their life on the day they were born. My philosophy is to celebrate their life not their death. So I take them out and look at pictures and remember good times. I have done this with my grandfather, brother and our dear friend Mark.

So, back to the September birthday fun fact. I have sent out multiple cards already, Hillary Taatjes’ birthday was fun, my Dad’s birthday is next week, Ella’s birthday is 9/30. Missing Derek already for Ella’s upcoming week of celebration.

But today is my brother, Josh’s birthday. He would be 37. He has been gone for nearly 13 years, and still on his birthday I want to celebrate him. Remember him. It is a lot harder this year with my heart being so full of grief. But Joshua James Carpenter, I want to remember you. Remember how I wanted to be like you from the first moments of my memory. Mom told me I tried to go to the bathroom standing up just to be like you. I jumped out of tree houses and ramped my bike into creeks, just to not be a girl in your eyes. Thanks for helping me not be such a girly girl. You pushed, helping me to be a competitor. You secretly were always so proud and protective of me. I loved your ability to hunt, fish, keep your jeep clean, mow pastures when there was a need for more parking, wear Criss Cross Colors one year and then flannel shirts the next and most importantly possibly your ability to talk as much as me.  Thank-you for teaching me how to belch super loud and being proudest when I would belch after drinking cherry coke.  You actually bragged about it to your friends.  Boy, was I cool!!  I love you and miss you! Happy birthday brother!

1 Comment

  1. Christy (Drummond) Brain

    Dear Charity,
    I was just reading through my Taylor magazine today and I saw the article on the loss of your husband and son. As I was reading your name, it suddenly hit me that we were on the same floor together at Taylor. 2EO…..I graduated from Taylor in ’97 so I was a couple of years ahead of you. Anyway, Charity—my heart truly grieves for you. You and Derek were married the same year that my husband and I were married. We celebrated 11 years together this year. Thanks for your example of loving Jesus in the midst of unfathomable pain. I know we haven’t been in touch since Taylor but I just want you to know that I’m praying for you and your sweet little girls. My husband and I are now up working at a beautiful Christian camp in Colorado just outside of Colorado Springs. Please know if you ever need a place to get away to where you can soak in the beauty of God’s creation….you’re welcome. I’d love to connect again. Love Your Sister in Christ, Christy

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