September 4th. 

Five years.

It seems an instant ago and a lifetime away all at once. I miss her so often. Sometimes in open, feeling it acutely kind of missing. Other times just under the surface. And always in varying degrees and ways that could result in laughs or tears depending on the moment and the memory. 

Every year around this time, I have been gifted (so much divinely) with a sweet reminder of her. Saturday, on my birthday, I cleaned out an old box stuffed in a cabinet and found this picture. I don’t know that I’ve seen it in the last 20 years…..just the two of us on Woodlawn Drive. Our old stomping grounds. 

If memory serves, it was 1994, my birthday and we had just started our senior year of high school. A time filled with carefree days, Adidas flip flops and Mossimo shirts. I’d be willing to bet the card I’m opening held sweet sentiments and an “I love you, Emmy!” 

Because they always did. 

She was an encourager. The ultimate cheerleader. An ‘atta girl’ kind of girl. 

I have spoken before about how the missing ebbs and flows but intensifies as our babies get older. I entered a new decade this weekend. The first one where she has not joined me. 

I can only say ugh. Because really there are no other words. 

She always led the charge into new decades giving me a nine month buffer. She was generous like that. 

This year I didn’t have the privilege. But I did have the joy of celebrating with many loved ones. With her name still on the top of list of invitees, of course. 

Always will be. 

In recent years, as much as I’ve missed her at Meet the Teacher Night and every high school football game, I’ve gotten better at trying to celebrate her on September 4th. Forcing myself at first, then gradually being able to naturally remember sweet memories of her life versus the pain of September 4th. To focus on who she was, who she is, who I see when I look at her kids. 

Like every September 4th since 2012, I awakened feeling flat. Beautiful day. Lots for which to be thankful. Still flat. 

Matt was coaching football practice. Our oldest son was having a sleepover with a buddy for the first time. As my brain began clearing the cobwebs, I remembered I needed to pick him up by 9am. As I drove to get him, my old brain (which protects me sometimes) registered that I’d soon be arriving at Krista’s home. A place I’ve visited only once or twice in five years. I wasn’t sure I wanted to go in. 

Especially not today. 

But then I was granted yet another divine gift. Watching our two fourth grade goofballs play. Together. One so much shorter than the other. A flashback to the days when my dear Krista rested at least a head taller than me.

And I had a good heart tug realizing the blessing of watching the next generation of Lutterman/Lene grow up together. 

Miss you, KLH❤️

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