I remember that day like it was yesterday. Every detail is etched in my mind, probably forever. It was a rainy Monday (reminding me of the song "Rainy Days and Mondays" - always get me down). The day started like any other, getting up early, getting ready, and leaving for work. I'm a teacher, and we had a teacher in-service day instead of regular school that day. I was scheduled to be at a workshop all day on school improvement plans. However, there was a group from my school that had to leave the workshop early to attend the funeral of a friend and former co-worker. The funeral was held that afternoon in the chapel of a local funeral home. Little did I know as I sat there remembering Mrs. Flowers (who had also been my son's first grade teacher) that I would be back in that same room three days later for my husband's visitation.
As we were leaving the funeral, my friend Janie asked me if I wanted to go eat with her and her daughter. I told her I couldn't because I needed to go to the grocery store before I went home. I remember talking to my husband on the phone while I was in the store, and our conversation ended in an argument. I felt badly after that, so I bought his favorite - fried chicken from the W. D. deli - to take home for supper. Just as I arrived home, he was getting ready to leave. The rain was getting heavier, and I asked him to stay home and help me take the groceries inside. I didn't really need the help and the rain didn't matter because I was parked under the carport, but for some reason I had an uneasy feeling about him leaving. He left anyway, just as I knew he would. I'm not sure why, but I sat in the front seat of my car watching in the rear view mirror as he backed his truck out of the driveway. I remember seeing him stop and thinking "Thank goodness he's changed his mind," but he only got out of the truck to pick up something in the driveway (to this day I don't know what he picked up). That was the last time I ever saw him.
Looking back on that day I constantly ask myself what I could have done differently. I wonder if I had changed even one little detail of the day would the events of that night have changed. Was there something else I could have said to keep him at home? Should I have insisted on going with him? Why didn't I tell him I loved him before he left? It's been years, but the whys, what ifs, and if onlys haven't gone away. I don't know if they ever will ...
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9