Fourteen years ago tonight, Brian asked me out on a date. For the first time. He picked me up in his moms car and took me to the Outback Steakhouse. I still remember what he was wearing, the booth we sat in, what we ordered and what CD he was playing on the drive there. Fourteen years ago. It seems like yesterday, and a lifetime ago, all at the same time.
It's impossible for me not to reflect back on so many things this time of year. Or, to look at the present and the future and realize how many events in our life are different now. Different now because of the absence of one person. A very important person. Whose life mattered.
As my 3 year old newly diagnosed diabetic daughter will tell you, at times, when we have to check her blood sugar or give her insulin.... it's not fair.
And I have to say, I agree with her, it's not fair. Because I miss him.
Sometimes life's not fair.
It's not fair that he wasn't here to see Natalie make her first communion this past weekend. She was so excited. And part of me would have given anything if he could have shared in her joy with her.
It's not fair that he won't be here this upcoming summer to see his beautiful little sister get married.
I could go on and on with the pity party.
But I won't. I refuse to do that.
Instead, I feel like it is my responsibility to share his memory, most importantly with our daughter Natalie, but also with the rest of the world.
I'm sick of the crap in Baltimore, quite frankly its disgusting. But it is, yet once again, a reminder of a life that was taken from us all to soon. And of course a lack of outrage because the tables were turned. I'm not even going to get started on that... I could write a book.
But the more I think about it, I don't want Brian to be remembered just for that. I want him to be remembered for the man he was.
Brian wanted nothing more than to be a Deputy, so that he could help people. And that's exactly what he was trying to do that day in September. Trying to help someone who he thought was the victim of a crime, and instead became the victim of one himself. "Not fair," doesn't even cut it.
He's not here with us anymore, but who he was mattered. His life MATTERED.
He was a loyal, dedicated family man. He was quiet, but he was funny. He was sometimes sarcastic, and never took himself too seriously.
He was a fantastic cook. He loved BBQ sauce, and beer.
He was very intelligent and graduated from WSU with honors.
He was a huge fan of the Kansas City Chiefs, and loved cold weather. We made it to a game every year, despite the temperature. Those are some of my most favorite memories.
Christmas was his favorite holiday.
His idea of the perfect vacation was a trip to the lake.
He had seen every episode of Seinfeld and could quote the entire movie Dumb and Dumber.
He loved to hunt. But, I know he loved Natalie and me more than anything in the world, even hunting.
It deeply saddens me to think of all the people whom never had the privilege of knowing him, and never will have that opportunity.
But you can spend your life focusing on a myriad of what has gone wrong, or might go wrong...
OR, you can focus on what has gone right. I am forever grateful that I was one of the privileged people who did really know Brian. How blessed I was that God chose me for Brian's wife and the mother of his child. I feel honored that I can be the one to teach our daughter all about the man he was.
How very thankful I am for all the memories.
People have often told me, "God doesn't give you more than you handle." However, recently, I read, "God helps you handle all that you are given." ...that's more like it.
So even when life seems unfair and the daily struggles are overwhelming, or the pain in my heart is over flowing... I can handle it. It may not be easy, or fair, but I can handle it.
I know, by the grace of God, I feel Brian with me every step of the way, and nothing could ever convince me differently.
So here we are, fourteen years later. I'll share, with Natalie, some funny memories I have of that first date... and I'll tell Kate and Charlotte about him too... really, anyone who will listen. I will keep his memory alive.