Sitting here reflecting on the numbers 4, 35, and 60. 4 is painful and associated with grief. 35 is associated with the beginning of the greatest adventure, love and friendship of my life. 60 is just a number – associated with another trip around the sun.
And what have I learned?
4 – on April 26, we will relive a bitter, painful day when we received the news that Chris had been killed in Afghanistan along with Dick Lee and Brandon Eggleston.
- The love of that child does not change. I talk about him because, while I know I will keep his memory alive, I want other to know he lived, and loved, and sacrificed, and cared. I like to hear about him from others. Maybe selfish, but it helps me connect to the little bits I might have learned from him over a beer or sitting on a beach together. And sorry if I make you uncomfortable but it is important to me.
- Grief is an extension of love. As with the love of your child, the grief is forever – – no ‘moving on’ or ‘pain will fade with time.’ I am faced with daily visions of what he would be, what his family would look like, how they would be part of us in the future. How can I not grieve that? We are blest that we are close to Amanda and she shares her life with us and we love her all the more for that.
- You can never fill the hole – so do not try to help me do that. We are blessed with friends and family who still cry with us and laugh with us when we talk about Chris. I have Nate, my son-in-law, who ‘gets it.’ He is a strong man of faith, a core part of our family, and perfect for Meredith. Not sure I would have ‘got it’ at 32.
- I did not ask to be a member of this club but I have met some great people who do great things because they were inducted too. In the face of loss, it is amazing to see people who step up and find a way to change the world – one step at a time. Grief as an extension of love provides a powerful force doing good for others.
So, April 26 will still have that empty chair at the table and my birthday and our anniversary will be hard because Chris is gone.
60 – So three days later, on April 29, I will move into the next decade of life. I cannot count the number of people who have blessed my life – Gayle, Meredith, Chris, Nate, Amanda, Jeremy, Paul, Kim, Larry, Jennifer and her family, Lynne and her family, Michael and his family, teachers, friends, colleagues, coworkers, pastors, etc.
- Each person is unique and adds color and fullness to your life – – – and you are not guaranteed to ever see them again. Cherish each moment.
- My faith was nurtured as a child, strengthened as an adult, and occasionally tested. My God did not change, I did.
- It is just a number – key is what did you do with it. Do not live with regrets.
“So it is: we are not given a short life but we make it short, and we are not ill-supplied but wasteful of it… Life is long if you know how to use it.” Seneca
35 – fabulous, wonderful, challenging, love-filled years. May 2 will mark our 35th wedding anniversary. Would I do it all again with Gayle? You betcha (that is from our years in Eau Claire, WI).
- Perfect is for crazy people – and maybe we are crazy and I know we work like crazy to make it as perfect as possible
- I tend to be a loner but what a lonely journey this would have been without Gayle.
- Not sure of the number we will get to add but look forward to every one of them.
And that is the week we will have from 26 April to 2 May.
Bring it on!