This week is always the hardest. Not only because it is _5__ years since Luke has been gone, but also because several days leading up to that dayI can remember vividly. And, I want with all of my being to go back and live them over again. Some of those memories bring a smile to my face. For instance, five years ago today (June 30th), I remember taking him to the dentist later in the morning and then stopping at my Mom’s after the appointment to see if she wanted to have a quick lunch with us. He, of course, wanted Burger King and my Mom suggested they take their SSR convertible. It’s fast and loud and can do burn outs, so Luke agreed immediately! As they were heading out Rt. 512, Luke says to my Mom, “Let ‘er rip Gram!!” My Mom floors it and the tires go spinning, making lots of “manly” rumblings. She casually glances over at him and catches him smiling from ear to ear. This is a story about Luke my Mom and I will never forget. Every year on this day we remember it and it makes us smile. Also this week, a familiar and bittersweet sight pops up near our development. The fireworks tent goes up on the main road near our house. It’s really not a big deal for most people, but when I see it, it reminds me of Luke. It was the day before the accident, the Fourth of July. He dragged Kraig and I up to the tent to buy some fireworks. It was one of his favorite things to do this time of year, and of course, we couldn’t say no to him. He picked out about $50.00 worth of loud noise making and colorful displays of fireworks. As in typical Luke fashion,(he was not very patient)he couldn’t wait to set them off. About 2:00 in the afternoon, he began to light them up making ear-splitting banging and popping sounds for almost an entire hour (much to the neighbors dismay-I’m sure)! I can still picture him out there enjoying those fireworks in broad daylight. He finished the rest of them later that night when it was dark. One of the hardest parts of grieving someone you love are the “If I had only known” thoughts:
I would have done ______________________________________. I would have said_______________________________________. I would have experienced ________________________________. I know I would have looked at all of those moments in time with much more appreciation and with more meaning. I would have taken many more “mental pictures” recording all of those moments with more accuracy and importance. I would have known to savor each experience as if my (or his) life depended on it. I would have said, “I love you and I’m proud of you” a lot more. Realistically, is that really possible? I don’t think so, but it is something anyone who has lost a loved one would like to do. As we go into this week-the five year angelversary and what would have been his 18th birthday, I cherish those memories. Even the smallest, most ordinary ones, like two days before the accident walking into the living room long after his bedtime and there he sat watching George Lopez on his “summertime bed”, the couch. Just hearing the theme song from that show, “Low Rider,” brings me right back there in an instant. I can “see” it perfectly. I can remember feeling content, even joyful, knowing that he was enjoying his night watching his favorite show. It’s a parent thing I guess. I love experiencing those little snippets of time travel. I’m grateful for them actually. I wonder……..what would he have been like? what would he look like? what would be important to him? I can only imagine those answers…..and hope that the life he did have with our family, his friends, and everyone who knew him was all that he’d hoped for right up to the end. We love and miss you beyond words my sweet boy.
Love, Mom <3