Sometimes it seems like yesterday and sometimes it feels so long ago - sometimes I wonder how I have made it this far - October 1, 2007 - the day my life and that of my families changed forever. It will never be just a beautiful fall day or even a normal ordinary day. This day my sunshine was greeted by angels and Christ Himself at the gates of heaven.
I have learned that for me, the days leading up to October 1st are often as difficult or more than the day itself. Trying to prepare my heart for all the last memories that seem to fill my soul - wishing and hoping that it still some kind of horrible dream and I will wake with him beside me. But morning comes and it is not a dream.
My heart's desire the last few years, is to cherish my memories and to celebrate Alvis and the man he was not only to me and our children but to all that may have known him. In trying to remember him as husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, father in law, friend, physician, athlete, gardener I am reminded how his life impacted so many and how well he was loved. And what an example he left behind.....
We have tried to spend this day, not filled with only tears and heartache but with joy - Al was full of joy. When I read through his Bible, so many of the verses underlined are instructions to live life with joy - the joy of knowing who Jesus is as our Savior and the joy of believing and knowing of His unfailing love. Al understood true joy - and this was the example he left with us - to live our lives with joy and expectation of our future with Christ; to experience this life with exuberance and to savor learning something new. To live our lives with the anticipation of a life even more exciting and glorious.
So, today - things we did to celebrate Alvis' life - taking a bouquet of flowers all from our yard - filled with roses, hydrangea, anenome, gladiola, cosmos, dogwood, jasmine to lay beside his headstone; a batch of rice krispie treats, sharing the afternoon with Ryan and Emily on the river; water skiing (even with out a wet suit!), dinner outside - toasting Al with a pale ale, and phone visits with Michelle, Colleen and Amy. We laughed and we smiled and teased "what would Al (Dad) think?" or "You know Dad would get in the water!"
And though my heart feels like the hole is not any smaller - I know Christ is healing the edges and softening the aching feeling especially on days when I don't want to get out of bed or get out of the shower hoping the emptiness will wash away. I know He wants us to feel joy again and to live life fully - just as my Sunshine did. So today, I choose to find joy - even in amongst the tears.