It's funny the things that cross my mind each year around Memorial Day. How things people have said or done over the last 16 years since my dad died that have affected me profoundly...
The December after my dad died, Father of the Bride, Part 2 came out. I saw it with a bunch of friends from marching band in college. One guy asked me a simple question, "Did you like this one or the first one better?" I said, "I can't really answer that because it became completely different for me. The first one my dad was alive, so I envisioned all those things--getting married, him walking me down the aisle, etc. with him. And this one, he's not....so it's not an easy comparison."
Or just days following his death, listening to a beautiful piece of music a friend shared with me who said he felt as though the music sounded like an ascension into heaven...and held me as I sobbed uncontrollably while we listened.
Or the flowers that were delivered the first May 28th after my (then) husband and I separated from a priceless angel of a friend who probably will never truly know how deeply touched I was for more reasons than I could ever express.
Or the friend who, for years, sent a card or email that I received on or around May 28 each year.... and even in the few years where we'd lost touch, I still knew I was thought of.
Last night, as my mom is in town visiting us, my family headed to friends of BOTH my parents whom we haven't seen in many, many years. My dad and his friend were very close when we all lived in Arizona.
Now, 16 years later, I learn that I live-- in Pittsburgh--about 7 minutes away from one of his best friends.
It was a surreal moment hearing one of my dad's best friends speak to my 11 year old son and my 8 year old nephew, telling them that everything he knew about baseball he had learned from their grandfather...whom neither of these children have ever met.
Cried for them, as they will never know how amazing a person their grandfather was. And I cried for him to not able to be a part of his own grandchildren's lives. And I cried for me...because I miss him.
Those are just a few examples throughout the last 16 years of my life, that have struck a chord so deeply in me that when I recall them, I can literally picture them as if it were the times they occurred.
My husband struggles with not being sure of what to say to me...he hates he cannot "fix" it. Last night he said to me, "It's just hard for me to know what to do since I have no idea what that feels like."
And I wouldn't want you to...
I only know what it feels like to me. My brothers, my mother, my aunts and uncles...they all lost someone too.
It makes me smile that my son asks questions about his Opa and in just the few days my nephew has been here, hearing him talk about his Opa as well.
So, I do thank God for allowing people in my life--past and present--to share, honor and remember.