I have given a copy of this book to each of the 12 students who received scholarships in Dave’s name. It was one of his favorites and having reread it lately, I think it stands up to time.
Pride is holding your head up when everyone around you has theirs bowed. Courage is what makes you do it.
As I reflect back on the last two years, we have come a long way.
Sam had just finished up her freshman year of college when Dave died. She is about to start her senior year and has her sights set on graduate school. She works hard and has been a frequent flyer on the Dean’s list. She has been dating the same fella for about a year now. They seem to have a good time together and make the long distance thing work. She is involved with volunteering and her sorority, and when she is home, she enjoys catching up with her friends from high school.
Grant will graduate from high school Friday. He has a great group of friends and works hard at his job teaching swimming lessons at the community center. After much deliberation, he picked the college that he feels best fits him. This is his last summer to participate in the summer swim league before he ages out, so he’s currently swimming six days a week. He’s definitely looking forward to a week at the lake with his friends and doing some traveling this summer.
Parker will celebrate her 6th grade advancement next week. She loves her school, her teachers and her friends, but she is looking forward to middle school too. She is taking oboe lessons twice a week, swimming in the summer league and recently auditioned for and was offered a spot in the Northern Virginia Junior Winds Ensemble. She is looking forward to two weeks of the Judith Lapple Summer Woodwind Camp and, of course, Camp Kesem.
They are thriving. They are happy. I know that Dave would be so thrilled with how well they are doing. I know that I am.
As for me, I am moving forward. The “sucker punch to the gut” waves of grief happen less frequently. I think of Dave every day, and I miss him every day. I mourn the loss of our future. I was explaining to a friend that we did the hardest part – the raising the young kids part. We didn’t get to enjoy the “we miss the kids/empty nest so now let’s travel and just enjoy our time” part. We got robbed of that. I feel cheated for me but mostly for him.
I miss having my partner. The person who gets it and can commiserate/celebrate with me. The person you exchange knowing looks with or side comments. The person who boosts you up when you are doubting yourself or your decisions. The inside jokes. The silly moments. The shoulder to snuggle up on. The hand to hold. The voice of reason. The devil’s advocate. Feeling cared for and protected. Loved.
Two years feels like forever ago. I would give anything to go back June 13th or 14th, maybe, of 2014. I would stop time and live a lifetime in those moments. But I can’t. So I move forward.
He had given me the power of one – one idea, one heart, one mind, one plan, one determination.
PS Just to illustrate how emotional I am right now, today I cried when I found out we had been gifted VIP seats for graduation. Really.