Sharing A Memory, Remembering A Promise

The adage, “you don’t know what you have until it is gone,” is probably the biggest understatement one can make.

It isn’t until something, or, more importantly, someone is gone that we truly see the impact they have had on our lives. That’s when the questioning begins. Did I tell them how much they meant to me? Did they know that I loved them? Were they scared? Could I have done more?

Then the promises come. I promise I won’t let another person not know that I care for them. I promise not to assume people know that I love them – I will tell them. I promise not to forget how empty I feel with this new hole ripped in my heart. I promise to keep filling it with love. I promise to hug more, kiss more, share more, live more….
I promise not to forget.

That’s the beauty of the human brain, though. It doesn’t really forget, but time dulls that hurt. You can’t live constantly trying to be there for everyone. You can’t live with the fresh hurt replaying over and over again. So, as time passes, the bad is replaced by the good, crying gives way to laughter, and sooner than you ever imagined – or promised yourself it would – life settles back into its rhythm.

That boldness you promised yourself to let those you care for know your feelings, fades back to complacency.
It’s not that you care if they say it back to you or not, you just want them to know how loved they are. Hugs, kisses, pokes, prods, all those small signs of affection, all those clues that tells others that they mean something to you, become reserved for those that don’t tense at the overt showing of affection. We don’t want people to be uncomfortable. We don’t want to be a cause for their unease. So, we quit doing the things we promised. We stop ourselves short and walk away a little less fulfilled because our brain starts to tell us – well….and the excuses begin.

I have to admit, the happiest times in my life have been when I didn’t think beyond that “moment.” The older I become, the more I think on a feeling than act on it. Of all the things age is bringing me – aches, pains, the need to be in bed before 2am – this is what I fight against the most.

Which is why I try, and many times fail, to remember those moments when the hurt of loss, or the thrill of trying, made me promise.

Matthew and the Church Van
One of my happiest memories came sometime in 1997. My church youth group had been somewhere – pretty sure it was Chief Logan. The whole gang was there, but what I remember was coming back and Matt sitting beside me. It was chilly as he scooted closer and took my hand. I had liked him for a while and thought he may like me, but I could never allow myself to believe that. Claiming he was cold, we held hands all the way home.
It was the only time we held hands. He died soon after that, and my first wave of promises began.

Maybe it’s because his birthday is coming up, or maybe it’s because after all these years I can remember those promises, and how I have failed time and time again to honor them. It may be due to the fact that I’ll be 34 in a couple of weeks and there is nothing like a birthday to make you look back and remember the good and the bad.

I will fail, people tend to do that, but I am going to do my best to remember those promises and keep to them. I want to hug more, kiss more, share more, laugh more, cuddle more – I just want more. I don’t want to be afraid of what may happen and just enjoy what is happening.

Matt helps me remember that. So does Chris, Papaw, Jeff, Granny, the many others gone….but let’s not leave out the living: Johnsey, Tracie, Mom, Dad, Bobby, Dō, Mernie, Mari, Max, Maddie, Cam, Justin, Jami, Dez, Sara, Mike, the Duncans, Brandi, Ramin, Patty, Tommy, Sherri, Matt, Aunt Pat, Peggy, Kam, Joe, JP, Kelli, Nick, Daniel, Brad, Adam……to be honest the list could take pages and pages because I am actually very fortunate and have many people I truly love and care for – even if they aren’t fully aware of it, which is on me. It is something I plan on correcting as well.
It is because of them all I will be better to remember how full life is and how much better mine has been because of the love I have for them.

So, it with tears flowing that I will end my rambling thoughts on my memory.

Go out and let those you care for know it. For me, I will remind myself that even if they don’t say it back, it’s OK. The point is that they know YOU care for/love them.

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Granny at Hardy’s House

It’s amazing what a fairly decent night’s sleep and Birthday Pancakes can do for one’s motivation. Tack on some amazingly warm February days, and you have the makings of a multiple blog post Sunday!

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This used to be our ballfield

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33 Years

I am now embarking on my 33rd year on this great blue marble we call Earth. During that time, I have made friends, lost loved ones, traveled, worked on my education, entered adulthood, been engaged – became unengaged, failed, found success, made a small difference (more good than bad), randomly met Chris Hardwick – yes, he is amazing! and, overall, have had a pretty good run.

This last week celebrating the big 3-3, I have realized that while there are, as always, things I need to work on it is easier to acknowledge that I’m more like how I want to be than not.

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The Ghosts Of Snow Days Past

I can see them walking in the pole lights.  A group of friends, laughing in the evening snow fall.  You wouldn’t know there is a girl walking with them.  It really doesn’t matter that she’s there.  She’s always there.  That’s why they had to get her.  This adventure wouldn’t be the same without their friend.

Those boys have no idea how much this night will resonate with her – how much they mean to her. 

They run and slide on the slush.  Snowballs fly through the air.  A car comes by, and they dive for cover.  Parents are looking for them.  They don’t want to be found. 

Not yet…not yet…the night is not yet over.  The snow day is not yet over.

Laughter floats, while the childish use of curse words are spoken in a poorly attempted whispers.  They keep going down the road, further and further away from the field.  It doesn’t matter that they should have been home hours ago, or that their clothes are wet from sledding.  Their breath heats the air around their bundled faces.  It’s as if nothing could touch them. 

Nothing will….they are infinite in that moment. 

Years from now, that small group of 13 year olds will grow up.  Marriages will occur, children will be born, and distance will pull this group apart.  Life will happen for each one of them and it will be amazing, terrifying, beautiful, tragic, and 1000s of better adjectives.  It will be the most fantastic adventure yet. 

But tonight….tonight, they are a group of hollow kids, hiding from their parents with the hope that the snow day doesn’t have to end.