There are times when we have to choose. This morning when I woke up my first thought was of Julia and how much I missed her. I thought of what today would have been like if she were here. Then I thought of what today could be like without her. I had to make a choice. I really had rather stay in the past remembering what Easter was like with her. I could have spent time looking at old pictures and wishing she were here. But life calls. I have two wonderful granddaughters in the other room. I have a daughter trying to make Easter work for her kids without Nana’s help. So I mad a choice. I chose life. I chose to get up and get moving. I chose to enjoy the day as much as possible, knowing that there would be moments when the sense of loss might overwhelm me like a rouge wave on the beach. I made the right choice!
The morning was hectic. Lisa had to get the girls ready for church and some pictures, give them their Easter Baskets and try to make the 9AM service. Guest were coming over for dinner. So just imagine, about the time Anna Roan was ready to open her basket, Julia Anne got really fussy and mad. Chaos ruled. Julia was crying, Anna was laughing and we were all trying to get pictures. Well we got through it, and got to church by 9:15 along with half of the congregation. It’s a good thing Lisa only lives about five minutes away. Church was packed; I guess everybody wanted to get back for dinner. Anyway I liked it OK. Lisa spent most of the time keeping Julia quiet, so she may as well have stayed at home. I really did miss being at RiverStone though.
We got home to fix dinner. Lisa is very nontraditional when it comes to holiday meals. We had red beans and rice, green beans, shrimp and grits. It was awesome. I had grilled the shrimp the night before and they came out very well. Everything else Lisa cooked and it was excellent. I would eat that meal any Easter, or any other time. After lunch we went outside with Anna and hid eggs for her. Then she hid eggs for us. Then I pushed her on her swing for what seemed like an hour, except I really didn’t want it to end because I knew that I had to leave. Saying goodbye to Lisa was hard. We just hugged, both of us thinking of Julia. We didn’t have to say a thing, just hug. That’s when I almost lost it. It was so hard to feel her pain, and I know that Jennifer’s pain is just as bad. I can take it for me, but feeling it for them too is almost too much to bear. Yet at the same time, I’m so glad we had that time to grieve together. That’s the problem with living in different states. You can talk on the phone, but it’s hard to put your arms around each other and just stand for a while. Hopefully I will be able to hug Jennifer like that next weekend. I know that we both need it. I miss all my family and love them all so much. Adair and Meleah are growing up so fast. Every time I see them it seems that thy have changed. The flights don’t look that good next weekend, but I will do everything in my power to try to get on one.
Leaving Mobile and driving back was hard. The hardest part was pulling out of the driveway and waving goodbye again. The first part of the long drive home I just reflected on Easter’s past with Julia and allowed myself a time to just miss her. I’m home now, back in my house. It’s still hard coming back into an empty house. I’m comfortable here because there are so many reminders of her. Her personality and taste are reflected in every room, but it’s still lonely. Someone asked me today if it was getting easier. I said no because the pain is still as intense as it was when it comes. The only thing different is that the pain doesn’t seem to come as often. I am not sure if that is a good thing. The pain brings back her memory so clearly. I’m afraid that without the pain my memory won’t be so clear. I don’t want to forget how much I love her. It’s like the end of Braveheart when the queen wanted William Wallace to take the drugs to dull the pain. But he knew if he took the drugs to dull the pain his mind wouldn’t be as sharp. In some ways I don’t want the “drug of elapsed time” to dull the pain because I am afraid that my memory will not be as sharp.
As I started to write tonight I sat in my rocker listening to “Love Came Down”. Parts of the lyrics to the song were: “I remind myself of all that you’ve done and the life I had because of your Son.” What a fitting word for Resurrection Day. I am so grateful for His love, and the fact that Julia is sitting up in Heaven with Him. I know that someday I will be there too. It truly was a happy Resurrection Day. I am a blessed man.