.... is a funny thing.
Other times .... not so much.
This was Jim's favorite picture frame with one of his favorite pictures of our children. It was taken about 13 years ago, around the same time I gave him the frame. Meaning, in "my time", about 10 years .... "before".
He loved the verses on it from the Robert Frost poem, "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening":
"The woods are lovely, dark, and deep
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep."
Well, I guess it depends on your perspective and your definition of "miles to go".
My perspective is that it sucked that my definition of "miles to go" is only 10 years from that point in his life.
I guess a lot can be accomplished in 10 years.
There are birthdays, graduations, confirmations, vacations, holidays, etc.
Memories are made.
A whole lot of that occurred in those 10 years.
A lot of really great memories.
And a few really horrible ones, though in hindsight .... my definition of horrible has changed a bit.
Still ..... there were some very, very difficult times for our family during those 10 years.
Thankfully, the great ones far outnumber the others.
But it's the great ones that I like to remember.
Don't we all?
It's the memories of our vacations and the experiences we shared.
Moving our daughters off to colleges.
Jim's election to our school board.
Time with our friends.
His 40th surprise birthday party.
My 40th surprise birthday party that he truly pulled off.
Time with our families.
Time at the lake with the boys.
Our last vacation .... visiting my brother and his family in Alaska.
Jim loved that vacation.
He loved all of our vacations.
That's the stuff that I like to remember.
That's what makes me smile more these days than cry.
I do that a lot now.
I'm .... happy.
How's that for irony?
If you'd told me three or two or even one year ago that I'd be able to type that, and smile as I typed it .... I would've thought you were an idiot for not understanding my grief.
Especially when you consider that 2 years ago .... I was seriously contemplating .... deep, deep breath here and brace yourself for my sometimes "unsettling" honesty .....
Not just leaving my home or my children.
But leaving leaving.
Leaving my body and this earth and the horrible, horrible pain that I didn't think I could bear one more second.
Just .... leaving.
Truth be told (and yes, more can be told) .... I went further than contemplating it.
Thankfully, now, I didn't go far enough.
I wasn't thankful at the time, but I am now.
So don't ever think that just because any of us can now say we're happy, we didn't truly grieve.
Oh, I grieved.
Very, very long and very, very hard.
I still grieve .... only not so hard and not so long. It's a different kind of grief.
And I'm happy.
Not the same happy as "before", but happy nonetheless.
I guess all of this is just to tell you .... you'll get here.
One day, one minute .... one second at a time.
One step forward, three steps back.
But one day, it'll be three steps forward and one step back.
I'm here .... to encourage you.
To cheer on those steps .... no matter how many or in what direction.
Oh, the irony ....