My granddaughter Emily started to school this past week. Wednesday was her first day of kindergarten. It doesn't seem possible that she's five years old. It seems like only yesterday that she was born, yet so much has changed during that time. Trey and Emily's mother are no longer together. She is married to someone else now and has a new baby. Trey is in a serious relationship with someone, and they just recently moved into a house together. My grandmother came here to live, fell and broke her hip and is now in North Carolina with my aunt. I've been back in college working on my specialist's degree for a full year now. One of my best friends at work retired from teaching, and I really miss seeing and talking to her every day. Other friends have married, gotten pregnant, and one has passed away. My mother has cancer and will soon begin chemotherapy treatments. Eddie died, and his family and I have started to gradually drift apart. Life goes on after the death of a loved one but in a very different direction.
I couldn't stop thinking about Eddie all day Wednesday, the day Emily started to school. I couldn't believe he wasn't here to be a part of it. This was just one more thing in a long list of events that he's missed out on because of the choice he made. I know how much he loved Emily, so I know how excited and proud he would have been. I couldn't help asking the why question again. Why did he choose to leave and miss out on Emily's entire life? She was only two when he died, so she didn't have long to get to know him. She recognizes him in pictures and occasionally says something about her "Papi". (Whenever she does I still feel a physical pain in my chest.) She remembers that he drove a truck, liked to hunt, played softball with her daddy, and took her for rides on the 4-wheeler. Whenever he rode her on the 4-wheeler she would sit in front of him with her legs propped up and tell him to "go faster". In time I'm sure she will forget what little she does remember though. I regret that he's not here to spend time with her because I know she would have enjoyed it. She loves to be outside just like he did. I can only imagine all of the things they would have done together if Eddie had lived.
There's no way to predict what the future holds, just as there's no way to go back and change what has happened in the past. We just to have to accept the hand life deals us and do the best we can with what we have. There are times when I feel like I've really moved forward and am going to be OK. But then there are others when I still feel tired, sad, lonely, and even a little scared. This past week has been one of those times. I guess this is what one of my books called a "grief spasm". I know it will pass, but I have to wonder if it will ever completely go away.
"You can never change the past. But by the grace of God, you can win the future. So remember those things that will help you forward, but forget those things that will only hold you back." -Robert C. Woodsome