October 31, 2017
Much has happened this past year. I know you would be very proud of me and I like to think that you are cheering me on every day. I’ve been thinking about ways to include you in my “new” life and this letter is one attempt at having some kind of connection with you. It feels kind of weird but like most things, I’m willing to give it a try.
Yesterday was Caleb’s fifth birthday. He is quite a kid. I try not to imagine you two together as it hurts but sometimes I do wonder how many knots you’d tie his little body into or how any times you’d make him scream. He has a sharp mind and I would not be surprised if he pursues some kind of math/engineering in life. Rebecca told Caleb about her phone call to you five years ago when she revealed his name to you, Caleb Michael. I remember watching you take that phone call and how touched you were knowing Caleb would carry your name forward. You were so brave, for even then, in your last hours, you wanted your daughter to know you shared her joy. Life is so bittersweet.
But as I said, this has been a full year for me. I don’t like to categorize it as easier or harder because emotions are not linear. It has been busier and I’ve had more capacity emotionally and physically. Sometimes I miss the slow quiet days of the prior few years even though they were so challenging. I felt closer to you then. Now, I feel as though our years together are becoming slippery memories that I have trouble holding on to. But, I am making new memories which is exciting but so terribly sad at times as well. I have a hard time finding words to describe this season of life. I really don’t like to think of me without you and yet here I am. I am burdened with the reality of the brevity of life and there is a vision developing for who I am becoming as a single woman, as much as I despise that fact. But time is valuable and I am determined to live it moment by moment, come what may.
I’ve had some amazing travel opportunities. Last winter, I drove Molly to North Carolina where she lived and completed her final internship for her OT degree. We agreed that you would have loved the history and the coffee shops! When her time there was finished, you would have been amazed (but probably not impressed) with the job we did packing up Molly’s car to drive back home. Honestly, we could not fit a tic tac in that car when we were done. But we did it! You won’t believe it but throughout the past year, I also traveled to Newport, Cape Cod, the NJ shore, Haiti, England, and Belgium. The best part about the travel is the people I’ve connected with along the way. What great memories! My trip to Haiti was life altering. I’m thankful for the privilege of being able to carry your vision forward. Mike, your heart would break for this country and I just know you’d be there doing whatever is most helpful. But I guess, in a sense you are there.
Sometimes the “little” things are big things for me still. I took Xander the wonder dog to an obedience class over the summer. It’s a bit different than the training you did with our past dogs; I’ll stop right there. You know what I’m referring to. And I am starting to make this place my home. These things can be a challenge when it starts to feel like with each new thing, you get further away. But then I remember that you are always going to be a part of me and I am encouraged to look ahead. It’s this kind of ping pong game that goes on in my mind. On the practical side, I just finished my fourth year with the Conn College volleyball team and I’m pleasantly surprised to say that I’m starting to feel like my new-old self again. I have the post season blues – remember those days? I’m still working with the family foundation which is such a rewarding experience. I get to meet all kinds of people who are doing good for others. The biggest news is that I’m back at school full time. I drive to New Haven twice/week and am pursuing a master’s in marriage and family therapy. It took two years to come to the decision (something you frequently encouraged me to do…) and then another year to apply. It’s a lot of work and time but I know it is the right place for me to be. I’ll be done Summer 2019 if all goes well and then only God knows what will happen.
I know better than to guess what this next year will bring. Five years ago, I would not have been able to imagine the life I now lead. It seemed impossible. Life is full. There is wonder, joy, and awe; an appreciation for the mundane things of life as well as simplicity. A new rhythm is shaping up that feels slightly more comfortable. I am gaining a sense of my capacity and when to say no to things regardless of how good they seem. I have a lot to learn still and am pushing myself too hard at times and then my body reminds me that I need to slow down….and I do. That’s when I can see those green/blue eyes of yours looking into my soul and I thank God for our time together. You’re the best.
Until I see you again,