A lot happens in 5 months.
Gary has been gone for 5 months now, and my fear has turned into anticipation of him coming home; my disbelief has faded into understanding; my anger has morphed into action, planning, fighting, compassion. My heart has been forced to expand to take in pieces of reality I never expected to face, and my priorities and my judgments of others have shifted. I am proud of and grateful for friends who stepped up without question, who stood at our sides like unwavering angels; and I am disappointed by others who salivated at finding us down. I’ve seen the best in some, the worst in others. I choose to focus on the prior and pray for the latter.
Gary has said he is afraid I will get used to him not being here, but that’s impossible. Dealing with adversity and drama and pain can make or break you, and fortunately, we found ways to help it strengthen us instead of drive us apart. When someone feels like your partner, there is no getting used to an empty spot at your side.
…Gary’s laugh. His laugh is loud, joyous, and infectious, and I have seen people literally drawn to him when he laughs, moving toward him to see what is funny.
…watching Gary with the kids. The way they look at him, and the way he looks at them, is simply beautiful.
…hearing Sunflower call out when she first wakes up, usually while Gary is making breakfast: “Dad-deeeee, Dad-deeeee!” and then giggling, hiding under the covers when he goes to her room, pretending he doesn’t know where on earth she could be.
… sitting on the porch and just talking, about anything and everything, eventually just sitting close together and watching the night take over the sky, not having to say much at all.
…waking up early on a Saturday morning and asking, “What do you want to do today?”, with the entire day stretched out before us.
…falling asleep tucked against his arm on the couch, sleepily arguing that I don’t need to go to bed yet, and just barely hearing him laugh quietly to himself as I doze off again.
…the way Gary strokes my hair when I can’t sleep, fighting to stay awake himself to make sure I fall asleep.
…the way Gary will go toe-to-toe with me when necessary, until I want to smile and say “I’m impressed” when he won’t back down because something is that important to him.
…the way all of our arguments have ended with “I love you”.
…driving home from work, already thinking of everything I can’t wait to tell him.
…the sound of the kids’ voices and Gary’s blending together.
…just knowing he is there.