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It’s been 4 years.  Isn’t it crazy how fast time goes by?  4 years since I said goodbye for the final time to my husband, father of my children, high school sweetheart, and absolute best friend.  So much has happened in those 4 years… many good things and so many difficult things.

My oldest daughter wrote a tribute to her dad this morning on Facebook, as she always does on this day, but today she wrote something that I’ve been thinking about a lot recently and it made my breath catch in my throat.

There’s just so much I hope I never forget about you. As time goes on the littlest features I thought I’d never forget are fading…and that kills me.

I feel this.  I find myself trying hard to remember the little things here and there and when I can’t, it kills me also.  I try to remember his voice, his laugh, his touch……..but day by day, it is getting harder and harder.  The guilt that accompanies this is excruciating.  How do you forget the things that are so very important?  How can the little details of your very best friend fade?

It is a constant battle to keep myself moving forward.  It’s hard to not want to stop so that you don’t forget any more. But I know that is not what he’d want for me.  He always told me that I would be ok without him…..I hated it when he said that!!!

However, I take comfort in the fact that I know that with every ounce of my being I gave him my all while he was here.  I was given the gift of a heightened awareness of him a few months before he was gone.  My heart told me to memorize him.  It told me to go out of my way to listen, feel, connect, memorize…….

I was also convicted to stop worrying about the little things.  If his socks were left on the floor, if his boots drug mud in on freshly swept floors, if his dog collar chargers were left out, if I had to crawl out of a warm bed to make his lunch and rub his back before work……..none of it mattered.  I counted it as a blessing to take care of him, to make his life great.  I kept hearing “memorize him, memorize him, memorize him”, and for whatever reason, I listened.  I daily thanked God for him as I picked up his messes.  I was given the outlook that if I had his messes to pick up, it meant that he was still there making them.  It became a love language instead of a chore.

Another thing that this loss has taught me is to take pictures.  As I stated earlier, details begin to fade after a while.  You can do whatever you want to stop them, but they will slowly fade.  Who cares if your hair is crazy, you don’t have make up on, or if you are not at your ideal weight?  In your absence, your family will only see you….not the flaws that you have made up in your head.  Smile, act silly, take the stinkin pictures!!!!

I am so thankful for the time I had with Chad.  I am so thankful for what we shared and the children that we were gifted.  I am so thankful that I got to be married to my best friend.  I am so thankful that God saw fit to prepare me so well to take him home.

Maybe you don’t have the “memorize them” nudge, but don’t wait for it.  You never know what tomorrow will bring.  You never know what news awaits on the other end of your next phone call.  People say this all of the time, but seriously, life can be forever altered in a moment.

If you don’t remember anything else that I’ve ever said, remember these 2 things:

  • Embrace the mess, it means your loved one is still alive and well to be able to make messes.
  • Take the picture or make that video.  You are enough just the way you are, give your family the gift of memories that can’t fade should the unthinkable happen to you.

Chad Michael, I miss you every day.  I see so much of you in our children and for that I will be forever grateful.  I am so thankful that I can say that I shared the first part of my life with you…..even knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t change it for a minute.  I choose to celebrate what was and be happy that it happened.  I welcome the heartache because it means that we had something worth mourning, which is hard to find these days.  You taught me to not sweat the little things and how to laugh over things that would normally get me upset.  You taught me to trust God when things are hard and that He will always come through.  You taught me that believing in yourself will help you move mountains.  You taught me that life is too short to not have fun.  You always told me to get out of bed because “you can sleep when you’re dead”…….and it’s so true!  You taught me to give generously, time and money.  It was an honor and  privilege to be called your wife.  You made me a better person and for that I thank you.  I have done some back sliding in the last few years, trying to regain my footing, but I am slowly getting back to where I need to be.  I love you forever and always, MTYEK……until we meet again!

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