Monday, July 16, 2012

Our blessings increase

This past week has been an exciting time for us. July 10 was our 30th wedding anniversary. We had decided that this year would be a good time to renew our wedding vows, so we did that during mass this past Sunday.

My son and his wife came from Birmingham on Friday evening to spend the weekend. My daughter-in-law's sweet parents came to support us, too. We had a great day on Saturday visiting with them and sharing stories and fellowship.

The ceremony on Sunday morning was just beautiful. Our pastor was so wonderful. He called up our son and daughter-in-law for a family blessing after the ceremony.  

We had placed flowers in the sanctuary, and bought a beautiful cake and flowers for our church family to celebrate with us after mass in the fellowship hall. After mass, my husband and son surprised me by singing a song for me. It was the song, "I Wouldn't Change You If I Could" by Ricky Skaggs. My sweet husband played the guitar and my son played his mandolin. They had spent a lot of time practicing to learn the song. It is one of the best gifts I ever got.
The day was, like most other special occasions, bittersweet, because Lauren was not there. Missing your child on a special family occasion is a part of every grieving parent's life. But I think this day, like my son's wedding day last year, was more sweet than bitter. I have come to realize that even though Lauren is not here physically, she is always with us. I believe that and it gives me peace. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Moment by moment

On a mundane trip to Walmart the other night, I had what I call a "Lauren moment." They come quite often, and usually very unexpectedly. I'll bet most grieving parents experience these same types of moments. Some ordinary, everyday thing will trigger a strong feeling or memory. I know these moments happen to anyone who has lost a loved one, but I think those of us who have lost children probably experience them in a more intense way. I believe that is true for me.  It's like a sharp physical pain for me. It sometimes stays with me for days, other times I get through it quickly.

The moment started when I saw the school supplies. My first reaction was, "Already? It's just July!" But there they were: the supply lists for the schools. Lauren was one of those kids who never procrastinated when it came to school. She might take forever to clean her room, but if the teacher gave her an assignment that involved a poster board and markers, we would be at Walmart the day it was assigned, even if it wasn't due for weeks. I don't think I ever had to say, "Lauren, do your homework!" It was done and perfect before I could even ask. 

The school supplies were very important to her. She had to have them the first day the list appeared in Walmart. Everything on that list had to be bought and brought home so she could get them organized and ready for school. I took her to Walmart her senior year to buy school supplies, even though she could drive. Mama had to take her. That's the way it was.

There wasn't much traffic in the school supply aisle the other night, but I couldn't bring myself to walk through there. The moment stayed with me for a while. 

I know there will be many other moments like that until the day I die, or I'm too old to remember them. I hope I am never too old or feeble to remember her that clearly and closely. That way, she is never far away from me. 

"Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address." Joe Fox, "You've Got Mail."