We meet again, late August.
It is hard to believe another year has passed. I will say it again- I remain unconvinced that the world isn’t turning just a bit faster these days.
This August has been different. Not necessarily easier, but different. As time and space separate me from Krista’s death, I find that she is on my mind more than less. But now in a way that brings more sweet memories. Tears still come. Easily. And probably more often than she’d like. But they’re balanced with laughter and stories and so many memories. So many memories.
I was able to spend some impromptu time with her daughter last weekend at a home party. She helped me pick out some clothing. Neither one of us was super great at it. In so many ways it was like reverting back to 1988 when her mother and I were 11 and trying to pick out clothes. Neither one of us super great at it. Just content to be together. The time was a bit like splitting two points in time. It was an unexpected little gift for me.
Some seasons remain harder than others. Not so much spring, fall, summer or winter seasons.
But more so football season.
My bad attitude about the time our husbands devoted as coaches was always counterbalanced beautifully with her love for the game and complete selflessness. She was also my cheat sheet. She told me what had just happened in a play. She took the lead in spearheading the team functions. She cheered.
Last fall the Knights made it to Semi-State. A feat in which she would have relished. Hundreds of fans made the 3 1/2 hour drive to watch the game. It was unseasonably cold as we entered the stadium. A mix of sleet and hefty snowflakes fell through the night sky, glowing through the stadium lights. We were all excited for the game but I just kept thinking that she should’ve been there.
To sit in the freezing cold. To tell me whether we were on offense or defense. To cheer loudly with gloved hands. To pray when our star player got hurt. To know every single soul on our side of the stands. To keep a positive attitude after a huge loss.
She should’ve been there.
I miss her. I know many of you do. We want her here. Yet that is not the way her story played out. I grieve. I get angry. Yet, I remain grateful that despite the moments I will miss with her on this earth, there will come a time that I’ll get to see her again. Ever the leader, she’ll likely hold an ‘Understanding Heaven 101’ course for newcomers.
I have heard others who are grieving say they most fear forgetting their loved one. This thought consumed me at a point in time when my grief was simply crushing any joyful memories. I was concerned that the sweetness wouldn’t ever rise to the surface again. I feared the eventual silence of her voice in my mind. The sound of laughter dissipating. The memories slipping away.
I worried about losing her all over again.
My son plays youth football. Krista’s son plays in the same league. Without planning it to be so, the boys are on the same team this year. This fact alone is bittersweet like nothing I can quite explain. Nine years ago when she found out the gender of this sweet boy, she confidently told me she already knew her child would be a boy because I had a son. In her mind it was a given that she would, as well. That these two just had to grow up together as best buds.
Our son has a birthday near the kindergarten entrance cut off date. In August 2007, my son only two months old, Krista began campaigning for me to enroll him in kindergarten a year later so our boys could be in the same grade.
Our sweet boys entered kindergarten together, sharing the same teacher, just weeks before her passing.
I miss her at Meet the Teacher night, Spring Carnival, gingerbread house decorating. I want to pass her in the hallway. I want to be able to call her about homework assignments. Or to vent over things I find silly. I miss her now more than ever. Because this was the season of life we were supposed to do together.
But I see her radiating in the faces of her children. I sense her sweet spirit. I know they won’t ever allow me to forget her voice or face or laugh.
A few weeks ago the youth football players brought home their gear. As most 9 year old boys did that day, my son wanted to immediately try on each and every piece. His tiny body in all that gear made me chuckle. He looked a bit like a bobble head in his helmet. As he turned to ask his dad a question, I spotted the sticker and had to catch my breath.
She is never far from my thoughts.
Or from football season.
I don’t know that I can say it any better than I did a year ago. Nor will I be able to next year. So I will leave you with the words I shared when first surrendering August one year ago.
She was a constant in my youth, my adolescence and my adulthood. She remains a constant with me now.
I love you, Krissy.