Life without Fu Part One


Fu is a French word (spelled fou) which is translated as mad or crazy.  It was the nickname of my wife, Frances. She was a teen when she got that nickname the summer of 1972 during Vacation Bible School at our church. She and I were helping in a preschool class and she would sing the song Little Rabbit Foo Foo, along with the appropriate hand motions, to the delight of a group of four-year-olds. 

It was a beautiful thing to watch. I was in love with her. We were 15.

One of the adults in the room started calling her Foo Foo. I shortened it to Foo and changed the spelling to “F-u” without any awareness of the vulgar connotation because she and I did not traffic in such language.

It stuck. 

Mutt was the nickname she gave me, which was also a shortened version of the nickname my father had given me when I was a small child.  I had fair complexion and dark black hair. When my father gave me a crew cut he said it looked like someone had smeared smut on my head.

It stuck, too, only I changed the spelling of it from “Smut” to “Smutt.”  Then Fu shortened it to Mutt.

By our senior year in high school, we were known throughout the school, especially among our friends, as Mutt and Fu. Even our senior jerseys reflected it. They were white with red letters spelling out “Provine,” a large number “74” on the front and back – our graduation year – with our nicknames across the bottom rear. Hers said “Fu.”  Mine said “Mutt.” We were a pair, meant to be together, practically inseparable. 

My Fu passed away May 1, 2021 after a ten-month battle with Glioblastoma Multiforme; brain cancer.  My heart has been broken ever since. After all, what is a Mutt without his Fu? I’m still trying to figure this out.

I hope you never have to go through the experience of hearing words like Glioblastoma Multiforme applied to the love of your life. We left the neurosurgeon’s office in shock. She had to be back in two days to be admitted to the hospital for a brain biopsy – brain surgery. It was during the pandemic. I could not be with her in the hospital.

We held each other those two days. We wept. Being without each other was unthinkable, especially at a time like this, but we had to consider it. This awful reality was washing over us like waves on the shore, a stormy shore from which we could hardly find shelter.

But there was shelter to be had, and we did find it. We had the shelter of our love. She was my soul mate. How many people can say they found their soulmate at age 15 and got to spend over 48 years together, 43 of them as husband and wife. We were blessed.

We also had the shelter of Christ. I am a minister. She was a middle school English teacher, and then a congressional aid. But of far more importance, we were Christ followers. We believed and claimed the promise of eternal life in Him and that God works all things together for good, but it was hard. When I left her that Sunday afternoon at the University Medical Center, little did I know that this was the beginning of life without Fu.

Categories faith, family, GriefTags ,

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