This morning I started out my day by listening to Aaron Watson. As I listened to these songs, I remembered the way Isaac would sing and dance. He'd sometimes do this little dance where he planted one foot on the ground and use the other foot to turn himself around. And I could just imagine him doing that as though it were yesterday.
Isaac introduced me to Aaron Watson and I instantly loved him. One of my favorite songs I've Always Loved You has the following lyrics:
I don't know how to explain it
But I know the words will hardly do
Miracles, signs, and wonders aren't enough for me to prove to you
But don't you know I've always loved you
Even before there was time
And though you turn away, I tell you still
Don't you know I've always loved you
And I always will
The first time Isaac played it for me, I knew it perfectly described his love for me. And the lyrics ring true because when you fall in love, you can feel that love is eternal. And even though there is a day that you met, there is a familiarity with love that transcends time.
A few months ago, a fellow widower asked if it gets easier. I told him that it does and it doesn't. I told him that the hard times become less frequent and pass more quickly. But when they come, they can feel just as deep. As this day approached, I could feel it building in me. It can be so heavy. It feels dark and lonely. This year, I think it took me by surprise because I've been feeling better for a while. I think part of me didn't know how to be sad at the same time as we're planning a wedding. Even though I know that I can be sad and happy at the same time, I wasn't sure how to express that. I think this is going to be a struggle for me because as more time passes and I move forward in my life, it feels like there is an expectation that I shouldn't feel it as deeply as I do. But despite all my happiness and distractions, it was as though each cell in my body could feel the change in the weather signaling the day. Although my mind knows that September 9th isn't that different from any other day, the grief is deeper at this time.
There isn't a day that I don't think about Isaac. I miss his laugh. Man, he had a great laugh. I miss the way he'd tease everyone in his family. I remember going to Tech games and hearing his great grito. I loved listening to him sing in Spanish, and I'd always tell him that he could sing in a mariachi band as his "plan C." I miss the way he'd make me laugh when we were arguing, or how he'd convince me to watch "The Office" with him by saying, "But I just love to hear you laugh." I love the way he loved his family and how when we'd go visit, there was this whole extra level of happiness when he had everyone he loved under one roof. He had this deep love for fatherhood, both his own dad's role as a father and his own role as a father. I feel sad for Isaac, that he didn't get to finish that. That seemed really important to him. I'm not sure what kind of role a parent plays after death but I imagine that he tries to be as close as he can.
Tonight we got some light-up balloons and released them into the night sky. The kids were so excited to send balloons to daddy in heaven. As they let each balloon go, I encouraged them to say something to daddy. Sometimes they'd say little things about their lives, and sometimes they were just excited to say "I love you" or send a balloon to him. I'm never quite sure of how to help the children grieve but I think it felt good to them to be able to send something to "heaven."
The past two years have been the hardest years of my life. These two years have been filled with pain, grief, service (from others), happiness, growth, and purpose. Sometimes I feel gratitude for all the good in my life and sometimes I still feel really overwhelmed and unsure of my strength. Grief really is a journey. People often talk about the stages of grief as though there is an ending point. But maybe grief is more like love and is eternal in its own right. And even though there is a day that he left me, the memories of love live on in grief.