(237) Journal Entry: December 31, 2017
Bill will never live in 2018. He will only be alive in memory.
For days now I’ve been overwhelmed with flashes of times with him. Driving down the quiet, windy road, when the car slowed to a stop on the gravel, looking forward at the dashboard for emotional stability, listening intently to the words of the doctor’s conclusions on the spot, and his thoughts on how to proceed. Feeling hope slowly fade as we make our way back on the road to a destination I no longer remember, or care.
That same road we took by way of detour for the first surgery attempt to confirm diagnosis, when rain poured and the crossing outside our home blocked us in, as we meandered out of our way to the hospital that day. After we arrived, the rain slowed to a mere trickle.
Lowes. How many times did we walk the aisles and daydream and plan projects? The smell of lumber and anticipation at how and where the wood would go brought a smile to our faces. I saw a couple with the same gaze—walking aimlessly, hand in hand, as I made my way to the items of need and bolted toward the fresh air of the parking lot–the lumber no longer a fragrance, but a stench.
Small moments, significant moments in time have been sweeping me off my feet, or maybe tripping me, trying to bring me down.
He won’t step foot in 2018, as he stands outside of time. I remember his final moments standing, his gate shuffled, until the final attempt to get out of bed had him on the floor, curled in a ball of pain, not able to stand again on his own; it took two professionals and myself to get him up.
I am grateful in this moment, knowing he no longer walks in pain. Or worry. Or sadness.
These moments in time are bittersweet. When they find me, they take me to a place where I can see his face, feel his touch, hear his voice, smell his scent—for a moment I savor the scene, ugly and all, as I feel his nearness.
I look forward to a new calendar, hoping to fill more days with joy and hope and purpose.
I am reminded of the verse about forgetting the former things. Isaiah 43:18-19:
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland…
I want to forget all the pain and loss, and spend this next year with happy memories flooding me with the warmth of remembrance, and filling new moments in the space, ones I will look back on at the end of the year, and smile.