Friday, October 2, 2009

In One Year's Time

In One Year's Time, 2 of the 4 people in this photograph would no longer be with us.

Last October we packed our bags and headed west to California to visit Chris' family. It was a long flight, but Camdyn traveled well, and I held up pretty well, being that I was 3 months pregnant with Chloe. It was a quick trip, we spent 3 days in CA and one day in Las Vegas before we headed for home.

I suppose had we known that this would be the last time we would see Grandpa Earl and Chris' mom, Diana, we would have stayed longer. We probably would have never left. We would have soaked up every moment we had, we would have hugged longer, laughed harder, and treasured every single moment. We would have forgotten about all the small stresses and life pressures that have a way of darkening a day. Maybe we wouldn't have gotten so freaked out over Camdyn's tantrum for a toy in the middle of Kohl's, we would have insisted that mom come with us to Christopher's ballgame, and we wouldn't have gone to Las Vegas, but spent one more day with our family. If only we had known...

You see, this was a controversial trip. Mom really wanted us to wait until Chloe was born and then come out as a family so that she could see the new baby. I insisted that we squeeze this trip in, even if it was only for 4 days, since it had been nearly 2 years since we had visited. It's a good thing we did that. Now, we have a few more pictures and a few more memories to hold on to. Camdyn got to hug her Grandma Diana and realize who she is and we had one final opportunity to be in their presence.

I think about her every day, several times a day, and can only imagine what the loss of a parent must feel like for Chris. She wasn't my mother, but I loved her as one. I spent a few years living under her roof. I became accustomed to her carefree spirit and attitude. She never stressed over the little things and she'd tell you exactly like it is. She used to say that she could tell you to screw off and hug you at the same time. I miss her. I miss knowing that she's there. I miss that Camdyn won't grow up knowing her daddy's mommy and that Chloe never got to meet her. It's like a whole branch just fell off of the family tree.

A piece of her now rests in a tiny urn in the showcase cabinet of our entertainment center. I'm not sure if she'll always be there, or what Chris intends, but for now, that's where she is. Camdyn picked up the tiny urn the other day and said, "Grandma's in there. Grandma's with Jesus. We don't want her to fall out." My eyes welled up with tears. She has no idea what all of that means and the reality of it is certainly above her head. But it was touching to hear a child talk about Grandma being with Jesus, without an ounce of sadness. Camdyn is right. She is with Jesus and she wouldn't want us to be sad about it. She's found peace and someday we'll find peace too.

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