It’s been over a year since I really started getting to know the person you were. Yesterday was your birthday, and as Sarah and I had a beer, we toasted to you. We sat quietly on the couch, tapped our bottles, and watched television for the rest of the evening. I wanted to write you a note about things.
There weren’t any big “ceremonies” or special traditions, other than Sarah remembering, and I wishing I could. I thought about Megan a ton. We had leftovers from Easter dinner, and chatted about the random things we always do.
It’s as if you were there, just hanging out.
But you’re not; nor is Megan. Both of you got a raw deal, and you didn’t get to experience any more “normal” nights. Neither of you got to see a little girl ride her bike for the first time, or smash confetti eggs on her cousin’s head. I’m both incredibly sad, and incredibly thankful that we’re still here to see it.
I don’t really know what the “right” way is to remember you. Maybe there isn’t one. Maybe I just let Sarah take the lead, and support her in whatever way she feels is right. After all, she DID know and love you. I suppose what we’re doing, talking as if you are both still here, but just away for a trip or something is good enough for me. It’s what I feel is the right way for me to remember Megan. I really don’t know if being a widow myself makes it any easier, because honestly, from what I know of you, I can’t see any reason to feel jealous or threatened. You deserve the space you have in Sarah’s heart, and you always will.
I like to think that you’re watching us doing all these things we’re doing. Hosting an Easter dinner, taking trips to the mountains, and even just sharing a Shiner beer on a lazy night on the couch are all things you should have gotten the opportunity to do with Sarah. Hell, those are things I should have had more opportunities to do with Megan too. The fact that the two of us were even able to connect and form what we have is testament to the both of you and the influence you had and still hold over our lives.
Even Shelby says “Hey Drew” when she hears or sees a helicopter. That’s a big deal. Through Sarah’s stories, she has gotten to know you a bit. It’s as if she sees you as an uncle that happens to live far away. Maybe you’re flying by on another one of your missions, trying to get us to notice something. She’ll even be visiting your mom soon. She seems to love Texas as much as you did.
I guess, for your birthday, the most I could do is honor you by being a good man and father, because that’s honestly what I would want if the tables were turned and I was gone.
Next year, if we can get all of our ducks in a row, I think the three of us are gonna take a helicopter ride on or around your birthday. I’ll wish it was you flying, but I’ll be content in the fact that you and Megan get to fly everyday.