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A deeply rooted love . . .

February 20, 2023

Dear Reed –

I love you so much, a love so deeply rooted that every cell in my body knows this day is approaching.  February 19 being the worst day of my life probably comes as no surprise to anyone. But what would perhaps shock most people is the agony of losing you is also marked by enduring February 18 which I consider to be the last fully happy day.  You know from heaven’s vantage point I have had happy days since your heaven date fifteen years ago, but none, not a single one, of those happy times exists without a quiet tug at my heart, realizing that you weren’t there to share in the moment or that I couldn’t tell you about it later. 

So it was yesterday, we endured that last happy day – the quiet before the storm of the brutalness of revisiting the day you died.  Like any beautiful love story, the last couple days have had moments completely immersed in love and dark brush strokes of sadness which only illuminate how love still wins.

After breakfast with Sawyer and Sydney yesterday, the day started by celebrating KR’s birthday by treating him to a dinosaur traveling exhibit.  When we peered around a corner, he blurted out, “That’s a Spinosaurus” with the same conviction that you used to use when rattling off dinosaur names.  I stopped in my tracks because the beauty of the moment was so perfectly reminiscent of when we took you and Sawyer to a similar exhibit at the Hjemkomst center. 

We later spent the afternoon and evening attending the wedding of extended family and enjoyed, however briefly, visiting with Erin and Grant.  We returned home early after a deeply brutiful moment when I was overjoyed for our friends, but absolutely heartbroken watching a dance that I will never get to experience with you, thinking of all the times we twirled together in kitchens, hotel dance parties, and deep belly chuckles at your little old man from Six Flags dance interpretations. The trip home was a sea of tears, happy ones for the revelers, sad ones for all that we miss.  My thoughts turned over and over in my head, my heart, and wearing out my soul.

I am fairly certain a mother’s love co-mingled with exhaustion and sadness wiped me out for the evening. Unlike other years, sleep was not elusive.  Before first light, my heart knew that I would have to walk through this day.  Yet, I was comforted knowing I wouldn’t be traveling alone. Besties and adopted kiddos made plans to surround us with love. From “I just happened to be in the neighborhood” bear hugs to requests to take us out to lunch where our loves didn’t bat an eyelash, when we asked if instead, we could do an indoor picnic and then a walk in Reed’s Woods.  Their hearts understood the resonant chords of our need to do the things you loved, and in every way, the time spent together was perfect.

Even before today, the love and support extended have spoken to my soul.  Some have whispered their love softly through text messages, even at the beginning of February just letting me know they see me, they remember you, and they want me to know they are thinking of me, of us.  Others have loved fiercely, ensuring we know you are not forgotten, ordering that we were being kind and gentle to ourselves, and filling a part of the day listening to old stories, but most importantly saying your name.  The thing my heart longs for always. All the while, my heart remembering –

You were brilliant. You were laughter.  You were imagination. You were light. You were love.

I always look for a sign from you on this day, and perhaps the best was the hug I got shortly after our morning hot tub soak.  I was cooling down on the bed, when Navy, the grand-pup, jumped up on the bed, something she hadn’t done before. Her furry little face looked deeply in my eyes, and then in the most perfect moment, she laid down on my chest and neck, and hugged me.  I looked at her, wide-eyed, and asked, “Did Reed tell you to do that?”  Her response was to hug me again. 

My heart could almost hear you whisper, “Just do it, girl.  My mom will know. My mom will know.”

I knew, Reed, I knew.  And I love you, too.

Loving you always until I can hug you again.

Love, Mom

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