I washed my hands in an unfamiliar bathroom. The soap foamed between my fingers and bubbles dripped into the sink. The aroma of the soap made its way to my brain and immediately I was in a familiar but uneasy place. My heart was heavy. My thoughts numb. I was pregnant.
It took me back to that bathroom in the hospital where we spent precious time trying to hold on to hope and hold on to ourselves as our lives were drastically being changed. Being strong in a small room filled with machines, hard cold floors, his whispering voice, and a muted tv. He tried to enjoy us. We didn’t care as long as our time was with him.
How’d we ever make it through?
We spent hours driving. Most of the time not talking. Alone with our thoughts but together in our hurt.
I see your old truck drive up to the neighbor’s house and park behind their lives. My eyes immediately want to glare. How dare you remind me. How dare you trigger such pain in our past.
There are days, usually on Sundays when I still have to remind myself that your truck isn’t going to be pulling up in that driveway and that you aren’t going to walk through that door. But still some days I catch myself waiting.
Our boys are growing. You aren’t here to hear them. To see how they get along. To see how they fight. To spitefully laugh when they are being horrid little monsters. And to offer them so much crap to eat all I have the chance to do is roll my eyes as their smiles are covered in chocolate and sugary drool hangs from their chins.
I let fear slip in that they are moving on without you. Forgetting about what a great grandpa they had. One that was so completely in love and proud of them.
But then as we are driving to the baseball fields they start talking about you. Out of the clear blue sky they know your presence and how it will never leave their little minds no matter how young they were.
Waylon says he loves his grandpa and can’t wait to be with him again. Even though I heard every single word of it I asked him to say it again. I let the joy from his little face and the smile that blessed his lips as he said it sink in.
They talk about you without pain in their words. They talk about you like they know they will definitely see you again. They talk about you with such a “this is temporary” kind of an attitude. And you know how much that makes my heart sing.
The simple minds of a child and they get it. We have not done the best jobs in teaching and living. We could do so much better and yet they seem to 100% get it.
They play in your trucks and engulf their imaginations in your legacy. They are their happiest there.
Weston was too young. How could he remember you? But then he is drawn to older men that resemble you. He threw a screaming fit until grandma took him to a picture of you holding your first grandson’s infant feet just yesterday. Only one of your hands was showing, but he HAD to go to that picture. He had to touch your hand. And he wasn’t satisfied until his tiny finger pressed firmly on that glass. He looked over his shoulder with a smile on his face as he touched it. Looking grandma in the eyes like he knew those hands were special. Those hands were a part of him. Touching them and calling out “hands” over and over again made him proud.
Everyone else went along with their business and chatting as I sat there almost as if it all happened in slow motion. I don’t know if anyone noticed. I don’t know if anyone else sketched that moment in their minds to remember forever. I don’t know if they got the symbolism, but I got it. It touched me and it is a simple moment that I won’t soon forget. It’s the little things that I can file away that remind me. That keep you alive in our hearts until one day when we don’t need the file anymore.
It’s amazing. It’s hopeful. It fills my heart with joy that we can go on here while you’re there and you are still so much a part of US.