Tuesday, March 5, 2019

I'm in Mourning

I’m in mourning.

It started with Luke Perry. I mean, I didn’t know the guy, but through high school and college, he was one of us. With a cocked eyebrow and some confidence that rolled off of him in waves, he made this midwestern girl dream of heading to California.

I’m in mourning.

Even before the unbelievable news of Perry, we lost a high school classmate of mine a few weeks back. Tim was a few years older than me in school and I didn’t know he and his wife, Melissa, well at the time, but she and I had become Facebook friends. I watched in horror as the messages rolled through on Valentine’s day, in shock that someone so young could be struck down. And then, the messages began pouring in. I openly wept sitting at my computer for this beautiful family. When I read THIS post on Facebook, I stopped. It wasn’t that I no longer felt sad, but that I realized Tim lived such a beautiful life. What a gift. A life well lived for certain, though many of us wish it had been longer.

I’m in mourning.

And while those loses knocked me down, that’s nothing compared to the losses we’ve experienced in our family this year. Beginning with my Uncle Bobby in March (blog here), my dad’s cousin Jim at the end of April (blog here), and Chris’s Dad at the beginning of November (blog here). We’ve felt uneasy, adrift, and filled with loss.

I’m in mourning.

Then today a friend posted a beautiful picture where she has her baby in her sling. All I could think about were the early days with first Luke, then Liam. While Luke loved the sling, Liam needed it. We never figured out what it was, but in those early months he absolutely couldn’t be put down. So, I wore him everywhere. There are so many pictures like the one below, I could make a scrapbook.

And yet, while looking for the above photo, I found so many more that made me smile, laugh, remember.

This one of Luke cooking with my dad. They do this all the time, but I had no memory of it starting this early. I’m guessing Luke is about four in this picture.

Another one of Luke, but with my cousins. They’re closer in age to Luke than to me. I love their young smiling faces here. Now Maggie is across the country and married. Patrick and Kathleen have just a bit of time left at college. I remember holding each one of them when they were born. It seems impossible.

This is my husband, Chris, and my good friend’s husband, also named Chris. The babies are Liam and their second child, Ryan, who is one of Liam’s good friends. I sent this to Liam and Ryan as they rode the bus back to town from a middle school band competition that was hours away. Next year they will be in high school.

This is Chris’s dad, Len, with Luke. It makes my heart happy.

Tears. I cannot even. I feel like my mom, but it must be said, “My babies!” (Family joke)

June 1996. It was hot, but relaxed. We’d known each other for three years and had been engaged for half of that time. I was twenty-two, Chris was twenty-three. I think it’s safe to say we were completely naive, while being absolutely ready for what was to come.

I came back into my office corner of our bedroom after looking at the pictures and my eyes caught on the pillows sitting on my armchair. They’re made from those slings I had for Liam years ago. And you know what? I felt ok. While I might mourn the time that has passed, the people we’ve had to say goodbye to, I love my present. I love the men my boys are becoming. I love being married to someone I’ve known over half of my life. (Side note, have you heard the song If We were Vampires? I’m adding the video of the song to the end of this post. It is AMAZING!)

What I’m saying, friends, is life is messy. Life can be sad, but life is oh so good.

So I’ll look at photos like this one of Luke and remember taking it in Michigan on about three hours of sleep because Liam was a horrible sleeper, but I love it. I love the memory. And I cannot wait to make more.

Happy Tuesday -