Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Five Years

Today marks five years since my brother died. Still, not one day goes by that I don't think of him. He crosses my mind every.single.day. I've also now lived a longer life than he was afforded. Sometimes I am shocked by that fact.

I dread this day coming every year.  I dread it because with each passing year, I feel further away from the time when he was here with us.  I hate that distance. I want to undo it.  I want to go back in time, and make everything happen differently.  I wish I could. 

But I don't want this blog post to be about the sadness, or dwelling on what can't be undone.

I want to talk about how this has changed me. 

As a mom, I often look at my children, and think, "What if that happened to me one day?" Having this thought in the backdrop of my mind has made me cherish my kids, and each passing day, in a way I never could have, or would have, had Andy not been killed.  It sounds so cliche to write that, but cliche is not how I feel.  I feel sincerely, that this loss has caused me to value each day I have with my kids, and my husband.  My biggest fear is leaving them too soon.  I want them to know how much I love them. I hope I'm telling them through my actions each day.

Yesterday, we were talking about some Aunts and Uncles in our family. My middle child started to ponder. 

A few minutes later, he asked me when I was going to die. 

I think he has made the connection that his cousins are still kids, but their Daddy is dead, and could that happen to him?  He was worried, and he wanted me to tell him when I was going to die.  He wanted me to assure him that I would "be alive when [he's] a grown up."  I feel sad that he's worried about that.  I wish I could assure him that I would be alive when he's a grown up.  I want to be alive when he's a grown up!  I told him that for sure! It was a good lesson on death, and life, but not one I wanted to have, because it seemed like it was coming from a place of fear inside him.  And that makes me sad.  I just hope, again, that I'm telling him that I love him through my actions each day.  Not just my words, because those mean nothing if my actions don't confirm them.  I'm not a perfect mom.  I make lots of mistakes. Lots.  But I hope my kids know that I love them to the moon. I would do anything for their little hearts to be protected.  I  hope they never have to experience the pain of losing a parent before they hit adulthood.  No child should have to experience that pain.

I feel like I have let go of my anger toward these two men who took Andy's life.  They were high, and stupid, and should not have been doing such a heinous act, but they are now paying the penalty for their decision.  I'm sure they are suffering, and I feel sad for them.  I feel sadness for their kids, who also lost a dad that day.  I feel sad for my sister-in-law, and my nephews.  My heart breaks for them often.  I just wish I could fix it for them.  But I can't.  I feel sad for my kids, who never got to know their Uncle.  Or for my new Sister-In-Law, who never got to meet her Brother-In-Law.  And for hers and my brother David's kids, who will never get to meet their Uncle.  There are so many people who were affected that day.  Even unborn people.  The consequences are so widespread.  And so is the sadness.  But in the end, I want to focus on the tiny good that has come from this.  That being that some of us are cherishing life just a little bit more because of it. 

{If you are curious about the outcome of the people who murdered my brother, this article, and this one are good summaries.}

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