I was looking through some old posts today and this one caught my attention. I wrote it on December 18, 2008. One year after Jim died.
I wrote about that year, and how far I/we came in those 365 days.
I thought I had come a long way.
I had no clue.
I still had so much further to go.
But still .... after reading it today .... that's what I thought: But still ....
It was .... a year.
It was a lifetime .... in 12 months.
Which must mean that I have now gone through almost 4 lifetimes.
And you know what?
The lifetimes have gotten better.
With every passing year.
And I guess that's what I want you to know.
In sharing this.
My life, and all of its lifetimes, has gone from a dark year of just trying to breathe, just existing, just trying to make it from one day to the next and everything that year held ....
to becoming years with more richness and texture ....
So keep breathing.
One day you'll look behind you .... and be surprised at much life you are living.
Looking Back ....
Well, Honey ...... I'm not sure where to start.
It's been a ride, that's for sure. And not a ride I chose to get on, or wanted to stay on, but I seem to be strapped in for life.
I started to just write about the year and post pictures from events, but there were way too many to post ..... so many that this entry would've taken several weeks.
I guess I'll start at the beginning, which ironically, is an ending.
A year ago today. Around 2:00 a.m., to be more exact. You were there ...... and then you weren't.
I like to picture you as you are in the above picture ..... up in Heaven, just looking out at everything and taking it all in. And waiting for me, of course.
Since you left you obviously missed the most amazing memorial service I've ever seen. I was in awe. You would have been embarrassed. You never knew how very well thought of and loved that you were. I wish you had. I hope that you do now.
Anyway, you left and then the kids and I left. We ran away from home, from Christmas, from all things/people familiar. We took a cruise and skipped Christmas. I'm glad. I wish I could've done it again this year, to be truthful.
So last Christmas did not exist and therefore does not count as our "first" without you. That is definitely this one.
We came back home and shuffled forward .... and backward, mostly. The kids all went back to school. And we continued shuffling.
I took the kids to the farm at Easter. We needed to see your mom, who wasn't doing well. It was the last time 4 of them saw her. The next month she joined you and now I picture her standing next to you, waiting. And loving having time with you. I'm jealous.
You missed the letter that told Daughter #1 she gained an interview with Harvard. You missed that beaming face that lit up most of Texas. (I'd like to think that you didn't really miss it, but I'm not sure where I stand on that.) She doesn't beam all that much, as you know, so it was a big deal. And I'm so thankful that I was there when she got the letter.
You also missed the letter that told her she got accepted to the graduate program there. One of only four people. We always knew she was intelligent .... too intelligent for me sometimes, but Harvard? You would have been so very, very proud. I'd like to think you are. She left in July and she loves it. She's even putting up with the cold, knowing that it's only a wee preview of the cold she'll find in Moscow in February. Our little girl. Our first baby ..... going off to Russia. We did a good job, Jim. She's very much like you. :)
You missed seeing Daughters #2 & #3 in the yearly college program "Sing" .... our first one to not see together. They were amazing, as usual. I went with several supportive friends and the other kids. We had a good time. Even though I cried through it all. Another "first".
I hate "firsts".
In May there were several of them. Son #1 graduated from high school. Our first without you. He had his 18th birthday. Daughters #2 & #3 had their 21st. Big birthdays. You left a big hole in those days.
In August I took Son #1 to college. And didn't cry as much as I thought I would. Of course, that's what I have Xanax for, too.
I'm sure it's no surprise to you that he's loving it and that he should've been there at the age of 6. He is so You. It's unbelievable. He would've made you proud in the way he's stepped up to take care of me ..... as much as I let him. I never want him to feel pressured to be You. Because he can't. I think I've surprised him with the things I've done on my own. Heck, I've surprised myself. I'm sure you haven't been surprised at all.
At the end of August I took Son #2 to military school. I'm not going to lie, Jim ..... I have shed many tears and have had many angry words with you over this. This is the ONE thing that makes me the most angry that you're not here. I should NOT be doing this alone. I should NOT have to put up with the anger, the frustration, the depression, the hateful and hurtful words ..... not ANY of it .... alone. Very, very alone. I do not pretend to understand God's will in any of this. I do not pretend to understand why I have to suffer losing you and go through this at the same time. Sometimes I wonder what I must have done to piss Him off so much. Or what I'm not learning that makes him keep slamming my heart to the ground.
And so I shuffle.
Son #2 seems to be trying to do better these past few weeks. I wish you had been here to see him in his blues uniform. You would've cried. Don't try to deny it .... I've seen you cry over things related to the Marines many times. You would've been proud .... and proud to have tears in your eyes. I pray ...... sigh, I'm not sure what I pray for anymore when it comes to him. I mostly cry and pray with groaning, trusting that God does indeed understand those prayers.
But that son also makes me smile. And he can make me laugh. He has a great sense of humor and a deep and faithful heart. He is going to do something big some day. God has a firm grasp on that one, Jim. I just wonder if I'll be around to see it?
And then there's Son #3. You missed his football season this year. His undefeated, District-winning football season. He did a great job. He's done a good job of helping, loving and protecting me this year. He takes his job as "only child" quite seriously. He certainly was God's gift to us, wasn't he?
The house is much quieter. After all, last year there were 6 of us living in it. Now there are two.
So it's been a year. A year of many, many "firsts". Some horrible, some easier, all lonely.
Some days I can't imagine feeling any worse and then I get up the next day and .... I do.
Some days I can't imagine feeling anything good and then I get up the next day and .... I do.
I have learned many things. First, never expect things. Just take each day as it comes.
And appreciate the time I have with our children. And our wonderful, supportive friends. Their acts of love, kindness and support would also have made you cry. And you'd be proud.
I've learned what an awesome man you were. I mean, I always knew that, but not to the extent that it goes.
There are people from all over the world sending notes to me to tell me what you meant to them. To tell me how you impacted their lives. One of your accounting professors even called me at home the other day to tell me what you meant ..... way back then.
And tomorrow there will be a dedication in your memory. A building here has your name on it. Go figure! You will go on impacting our school district, its teachers and its children for many more years.
I thank God for you every day. I did it when you were alive (I'm so thankful that I always knew how blessed I was to have you)...... I do it still.
There are no words to express my love for you, for our children and for the life we had together. You were my heart, my soul and half of me. I'm so thankful to God for putting us in that Speech class together 28 years ago. I'm so thankful for the time we had, for the children we have, for the fun, laughs, tears, joys, frustrations, travels, love we had. And for the love the kids and I still have for you.
And will always have.
And that, my Love, will carry me on into the next year. God is still doing mighty things through you, Jim Eggers, and He is using the loss of you to do good.
I love you. I miss you. I cry for you. I smile and laugh at the memories of you.
And I can NOT wait to be with you again, hand in hand.
Give your mom a hug for me.
All of me,