Moving on

For the first years of my son’s life, he was my shadow. On any given day, you’d find him on my hip, or on my lap, or hugging a leg. When I walked away, he followed. When I went out with my husband or friends, he cried. When he woke up in the morning, or from a nap, he called for me. It was endearing, exhausting, and short-lived (if you consider three years short).

About 13 years ago, both of my boys wrestled. For a few months in the winter, I brought them to practice at the high school. I sat in the hall waiting for one, then the other, to enjoy rolling around on thick, smelly mats in the gym with their peers. 

One evening I was with my younger son, my shadow, waiting for the older one to finish his practice when a coach came out of the gym with a large box. He placed the box on the floor and asked me if I would help him to hand out tournament t-shirts to the players as they left. 

Of course, I agreed. 

As each boy came out, I found his size and gave it to him. To do this, I had to lean over and reach inside the box which caused my sweater to rise a few inches above my waist exposing my lower back. Each time this happened, I felt a small hand pull the sweater down to cover me. My son was almost five years old then. 

Last week we dropped this son at college for the first time. We found his room, unpacked his belongings, made his bed, set up his television, and too soon, said goodbye. 

I’m not sure why that memory, so clear in my mind, came to me. I can’t remember what I did yesterday. But I grabbed it, reliving the moment outside of that gym. Last week, I walked away from this child who used to pull down the back of my sweater so my skin wouldn’t show. I walked away and he didn’t follow, or cry, or call for me. 

My heart is full of small, yet significant memories such as this, and to know I can draw upon them when I need brings me comfort. 

This is the beginning of a new stage for us. And maybe, just maybe, the memories we’ve made over the years, the ones I hold like treasures, will make the moving on hurt less.

This is the face I saw at college drop-off 

 

Gone too soon

You welcomed us to the party. No matter our mood when we arrived, we had to be happy. We danced and drank, toasted and cheered. Most of all, we laughed. The laughter could be heard everywhere. There were so many of us, people of all ages, all with one thing in common.

Occasionally, we’d look around and wonder how we got so lucky to find ourselves at this celebration. This amazing, life-affirming, gleeful, wonderful bash. We knew we were blessed. We never wanted it to end.

Then the music stopped playing, the lights went dim and we were told it was over. It was time to move on. But how do we move from something so celebratory and joyous? What will we do now?

This is what it felt like to have you in our lives. In your presence, we were at life’s exclusive gala, laughing. Laughing until we cried.

Thank you for giving us cause to celebrate, for filling our lives with joy, for sharing your generous spirit and kindness and love. We know how lucky we are to have spent time with you. And we will forever be grateful.

Rest in peace, dear friend. We’ll miss you.