It's that time of year again. I've marched towards today for the past month and a half. Grumpy one day, fine the next - I think most of my family has felt the uncertainty of my moods but they have hung in there. This year was different for a couple of reasons - one, I forgot the day the march starts. Let me clarify that though, my conscious mind wasn't thinking about the day, but my subconscious was right on target. I was obviously in a sour-ish mood and I couldn't explain why. It was only a couple of days later that I realized the dates and figured it out. I think your entire body chemistry is changed by grief. My body grieves even when my mind isn't fully engaged - I have less energy, I'm more prone to getting sick. It's just weird.
Enough about the march! Eight years ago. Hard to believe it has been so long and yet it seems like just yesterday. Daniel's last day at home was Halloween, and he died in the hospital just three short days later. He was supposed to go home that day, but it didn't work out the way we thought . It's so easy to take myself back to that moment. Honestly it still makes me sick and horrified. I can recreate almost every moment of the last few minutes and the few hours after as our family came to the hospital. It's so easy to travel back in time and be right in it. Amazing.
More amazing though is how hard it is to imagine that 8 years has passed. He'd have been 43 now, and G is 13. Crazy talk. What a great conversation the two of them could have now...more likely a heated discussion as each one tried to be more right than the other....the Dippel-genes are strong in my not-so-little guy! ;-) I sometimes imagine what they would be like together through G's sports and his math homework. Only a couple of items on a very long list of wonderings. What would it have been like?
It doesn't matter though now - and it is the path we weren't allowed to go down. Our path is very different now and yet very good. I'm blessed with a fabulous husband who makes me very happy and is a great step-dad for a 13 year old boy who needs that kind of attention. We have aged, changed, grown, healed, and moved forward along our new path - always with thoughts of Daniel in our hearts, but knowing that he watches over us and is proud of us for making a new life in spite of the hardships.
To honor today, we are loading up in the car and heading to Wurst Fest - one of Daniel's favorite festivals. We do it every year at this time. We'll wear ridiculous hats, load up on beer and brats, eat fried pickles until we feel sick and raise a glass to Daniel. Cheers Daniel. We wish you were here with us in body, but you are always with us in spirit.