You’ve been gone 9 years today.
9 whole years.
That boggles my mind.
When I think about your diagnosis, the treatments, and the end…it hurts almost worse now than it did at the time. At the time I was so in the situation, and such a newbie in the family. I didn’t know all the people who were throwing their arms around me and praying over me. Shedding tears that fell on my skin.
I didn’t really know you.
I have pictures and stories, but because you were diagnosed in that one year I had with you before marrying your son, you were always surrounded by friends and family. I can count on one hand the times we spent as a normal “family” in the time after Cortney and I were engaged.
But it’s more than others got.
I have never ever forgotten how lucky we were to have you at our wedding.
Every single happy moment in our lives since then have had a small ache because you were missing it.
What would your reaction have been to each pregnancy announced by your children? What about the adoption of your grandsons? How would you have comforted your children through child loss? How would you have danced with your daughter at her wedding? Or rejoiced to see your son marry his high school sweetheart? How proud would you have been of the graduations and degrees we are all racking up? Your your son-in-law’s first children’s book? How would you have gotten along with your kids in-laws? What things would you teach your grandchildren?
I can’t help but see you in my own boys. It makes me smile and breaks my heart.
I have forgotten your voice, your laugh, even what you looked like outside of photos. But I have never forgotten the twinkle in your eye. I see it in Cortney, Cody, MacKenzie, and all of your grandkids…especially Charlie.
This morning I was lying awake thinking about how proud of Cortney you must be. He is such a wonderful dad and husband. He is handy and smart. And he is a business owner. Just like you.
Sunday we all sat on MacKenzie and Dave’s new lawn and beach and had peach pie for your birthday. I looked at each member of the family and tried to see what you would see. I got choked up. Gosh. If there is bragging in heaven, you must do it heavily.
Today I took Eddie and Charlie to the flower shop. We ordered a lovely arrangement of happy flowers to go in front of the church on Sunday in your memory. We will be on nursery duty, but I hope people enjoy them. I hope they make people smile, the way you always did.
After the flower shop, we went to the bakery (or the donut shop, as Eddie calls it). Eddie and I have been coming here on August 14 for the past three years. Today Charlie was with us. I showed them some pictures of you. Eddie asked me why you looked so different at our wedding and I explained cancer to him for the first time. I also showed him your marina photo. He said, “now THAT looks like daddy!” That made me smile.
We sure do miss you.
Each of us differently, of course, but the pain is still there.
9 years or 900 years…I think it will still hurt.
For now we see the joy in that hurt. The pain means there was a lot of love there.
Love and laughter.