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The 11th Year

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Life as you know it can change in a moment.  Most times change of any significance is the outcome of some master plan or concerted effort towards a desired goal.  And sometimes that change can be the result of a choice, self-directed or randomly selected – consequences you could never have predicted, imagined or even thought possible. 

Today marks 11 years since a change of unpredictable, unimaginable magnitude – activated by another’s choice - struck our family.

So impossible, at times it seems a lifetime ago.   Yet, at others, because the wounds are still so raw, feels as if it just happened. 

The distance between “then” and “now” could be measured in so many ways.  It could be measured not only by the marks on the calendar but by the rounding of my shoulders or the sluggishness to my step.  It could be measured by my sons’ amassed knowledge of neural activity and his familiarity with rehab terminology.  It could be measured by the marked improvement in my daughters’ stamina and endurance for therapy or by her increased need for and the sheer numbers of her durable medical equipment. 

It is easy to imagine the expansive list of things that will never be because of this change and to measure the void these will leave.  You cannot deny the loss of life as we knew it, or the pain and grief it has instilled.  It stares at you, it haunts you.  It could, if you let it – threaten to pull you under.

So much was taken on March 26, 2003 - so many hopes and dreams for the future were wiped away.  Yet, so much remains - for we still have each other.  Since that fateful day, always steadfast by my side is my rock - my son.    Soon, he will marry and together, with the young woman he has chosen to be his wife they share in the love and care of Tori.  At the center of us all is Tori.  To have her truly gaze upon you with those big brown eyes stops you right in your tracks.  And, if you are lucky enough to be gifted with a smile, it is as if you have been granted absolution such is the power of her spirit.

There are moments as a parent that make your heart leap.  The moments when your vision immediately begins to cloud for you are unable to see clearly through the rising tears and you feel a catch at the base of your throat.  For me all it takes to provoke these feelings is the sight of my children, engaged – loving – together.

It is the moments, the minutes in our lives that all add up to complete the story.  For while it is wonderful to project, or expect a lifetime - what we truly have is the now.  

It is the moments when you realize how much a smile – a word – a glance, can change your day. 

It is the glory of and the gratitude for the warmth of the sun, reassuring conversations, and the sound of infectious laughter.  It is the ability to watch your child have a restful night and an uneventful morning.   It is the army of people that have watched over, prayed and cared for us that have created moments so beautiful and loving they have touched us to the core.  We can measure these years in the moments spent with family and friends, old and new that have come to walk with us on this journey.

60 minutes an hour.  24 hours a day.  7 days a week.  365 days a year.  Yes, today marks 11 years or 5,781,600 minutes.  Moments to reflect - to appreciate – to love.  Because, Life as you know it can change in a moment.  Choose well.