Everyone says, that time heals all wounds.
I know, I know, I've said this before, but bear with me... It's a complete lie.
Ten years ago, tonight, I can tell you exactly what I was doing. I'm sure most mothers could. Because it wasn't any ordinary day. It was the day before Natalie was born. My dad and Brian were off buying my parent's first boat and my mom and I went out to dinner together at the Outback.
The next day was such a special one. We had a rough start, but, Natalie came into the world and made us parents.
Seeing the look on Brian's face when he held her was priceless.
He was so proud.
Little did we know then, they would have such a very short time together.
2 years. 4 months. And 5 days. To be exact.
It was a wonderful 2 years, 4 months and well, 4 of those days.
He was an excellent father.
I have memories of him, taking her out into the garage after he returned from a hunting trip to show her all of his geese and laughing as she said "honk, honk."
And, I remember him sitting outside her bedroom door, exhausted, when I was leaving to go work night shift and she had learned how to climb out of her crib.
But even more than all of the the memories, I remember one thing.
I remember his love.
His love for her was unfailing.
He loved her more than life itself.
And that is why this is so hard.
I can't stop thinking that she will turn 10 tomorrow, and has lived almost 8 years without her dad.
This is why I believe, that in some ways, grief gets worse the longer you live without your loved one. Because you start to realize everything they have missed.
You actually, KNOW, what living without them feels like.
In the beginning you can only imagine. And the imagining stinks. But the reality is harder.
When people tell me "He sees her. He is with her with her everyday."
I know they mean well. And I do agree.... But it kind of feels like rubbing salt in the wound. Honestly, I know he does see her.
But here's the thing, and it may sound selfish.
I don't get to see him see her. I don't see the proud look on his face to see the girl she is growing up to be. I don't get to see him laugh, at the funny things she says and does.
And it hurts.
And I'm sad.
At the local police memorial this year, Officer David Kenyon's daughter spoke. At first I was heartbroken to hear her share memories that had been shared with her, since she was only 3 years old when her father was killed.
Then, I was filled with hope, since he was killed in the line of duty in 1962. And in 2017, here she was.
Still attending memorials in her father's honor.
So here's where the focus needs to be, for me.
I am so thankful for the time Natalie and Brian had together, albeit, very short.
I am thankful for my daughter, that she is a well rounded, smart individual, loving life, a good friend and steward of her faith.
I am SO thankful that when they made a family chain at school, she said to her teacher "Can I have two spots for both of my dads."
I will make sure she always knows her father. And his love for her.
She is my living piece of him. And I am so proud of her.
I know, that he would be too.
I may never understand God's plan. But I giving Him thanks for it.
Thanks for my life before, thanks for my life now, thanks for my life to come.