Bryan has some family coming out to visit soon, so I spent most of the weekend cleaning and redecorating the extra bedroom. I wanted to go through all the boxes in the closet. Some of them were full of random stuff that needed to be sorted...or just thrown out. It was an interesting time, to say the least.
I have some of Andy's things tucked away in a box. His mom gave them to me on a visit home, and I think I protect them more than anything else in my house. Some of the things are from his childhood, and I know how hard it was for her to part with them. When I opened the box, I could smell him. It was so familiar, so comforting. I was amazed at how a simple smell could get me lost in a late summer night, sitting on the back porch, enjoying a gentle breeze and six pack with one of the greatest people I've ever known. And then the little guy in my belly started wiggling and kicking, and I quickly remembered that I wasn't on a back porch. I was sitting in a tiny closet, curled up in fetal position with a shirt.
Later in the evening, I went through some pictures. Some are framed and have been boxed up since I moved from Boston. Some were just in a big stack, waiting to be framed or put into albums.
And then this one fell out. From 2006. July 4, to be exact.
The day before my sister left home.
The day before F's accident.
The day before the news that brought my world crashing down and forever changed my family.
The day before those words that still make my entire body shudder.
I look at that picture, and I see a completely different person than the one I see in the mirror now.
The day before that picture was taken, the hardest decisions I had to make were whether I wanted to go swimming or fishing after work...or if I wanted to have chicken or steak at Uncle Chuck's while I played with the kids.
So young. So much happiness. So much innocence. So completely oblivious to what the future would hold....dead friends...divorce...dead babies.
I look at that picture, and I'm honestly a little envious....and would give just about anything to go back to that day, just more time.