Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Are We Really Supposed To Go On?

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It is 12:58 am Christmas morning. About 7 hours ago, Aaron Jr and I went up to the Harkness' for Christmas Eve festivities. They had the traditional seafood dinner that they have had every year forever. Aaron always looked forward to that meal every year. He knew I didn't like seafood, so I never cooked it for him and that meant he didn't get to eat it very often.

Sitting at the table tonight picturing him getting ready for the feast was so overwhelming. I could picture the way he would sit and eat... usually with his elbows or forearms on the table... while he made casual conversation. I had to get up and leave the table several times to try to compose myself. I still can't believe he is really gone.
It is so hard to explain what I am feeling. I want so badly to be able to put it into the perfect words... words that would give everyone a clear knowledge of what I feel. Those words don't come though, just the feeling.

After dinner, we got the kids dressed up and did the Nativity. Aaron Jr was Joseph. Sue asked people to share a little something about the character their child was representing. It was so perfect that I was supposed to share something about Joseph, a carpenter. I thought of the characteristics that Joseph would have had... ones that would have helped him to accept his calling to be the earthly father of Jesus the Christ. I thought of the work that he would have taught Jesus... working with wood. I thought of how humble and good he must have been to have been given the blessing of helping to raise the Son of God. I have always been in awe at the task set before Joseph. As I pondered on the words I wanted to share, I couldn't help but feel the sadness once again that Aaron Jr won't be able to learn woodworking from his dad... or anything else he would have wanted to teach Aaron Jr. It is a blessing that we have Aaron's missionary journals. At least Aaron will be able to teach Aaron Jr about the gospel through his written words.

After the Nativity, we started opening gifts. There were such thoughtful gifts given tonight. So many gifts given to help each other cope and remember Aaron. The one that is the most difficult to talk about is the gift given to Steve Jr, Aaron's brother. Sue had taken Aaron's eyeglasses and had Steve's prescription put into Aaron's frames so that Steve could have them. It took a lot of pondering and put me through a lot of turmoil trying to come to a decision about how I felt about that. Once I finally made the decision to go ahead and let her give those to Steve, I felt good about my decision. Then after I felt good, I would start to feel really uneasy about it again. They are the only possession that Aaron wore pretty much daily. Right up until the very moment when Steve opened the gift, I was still going back and forth in my mind trying to decide whether or not I could truly feel okay inside about giving away something that Aaron wore so often. I sobbed tears of sorrow... but also was glad to see how honored Steve seemed to be. I have so many treasures of Aaron's that I am going to get to cherish, but even so... it didn't make the decision any easier for me. Who knew that my husband's eyeglasses would mean so much to me once he was gone? I never realized it. My one request to be given to Steve was that they would one day be passed down from him to Aaron Jr. I never realized what 'things' would mean so much to me once Aaron was gone. Eyeglasses? Why? But yes, they are a treasure. I still feel good about my decision for the eyeglasses to be given to Steve, but I do feel sorrow that I don't have them to look at everyday like I did when Aaron would wear them. I know that Steve will treasure those like I do. I know that Steve will take great care of them until one day when he does pass them down to Aaron Jr. Even though it was so difficult to give Aaron's eyeglasses away (one of the most, if not the most, difficult thing I have done since Aaron passed away), I know they will be treasured by his brother and I am glad of that.

As I have been typing this, a thought came to my mind. 'Why treasure something that was only used to correct an imperfection?' I will tell you why. It is the imperfections in all of us that make us unique and beautiful. Aaron's imperfect qualities are the things that bring smiles to my face more than anything else. His tardiness everywhere he went. At the time, it was frustrating, but now... it is so endearing. The way Aaron would mispronounce certain words... I never found it annoying... it was always something that made me smile because it was so Aaron. The one eyebrow hair that was always really long on his right eyebrow... that one always made me laugh. No matter how many times I pulled it out or trimmed it... it always grew back really fast. I called it 'his freak eyebrow hair'. The scars that always came with great stories of how he got them. The various colors of paint that were always on Aaron's hands, under his fingernails, ALWAYS on his clothes, even on the eyeglasses that were given to Steve... I don't remember Aaron's hands ever being completely clean. He had hard working man's hands. I want to share so many more things that make me smile... but I would be here all night. I can only hope that my imperfections were beautiful to Aaron like his are to me.

Whoever actually reads my words and thoughts... I want you to know how much I miss my husband. It is now 1:45 am on Christmas morning... and I dread going to bed because I have to lay there without Aaron next to me. Each night I put off going to bed for this very reason. I finally go to bed when I can't even keep my eyes open for another minute.
Christmas without Aaron has been so hard. I didn't even want it to come. It isn't a time I feel like celebrating. Aaron Jr has noticed the absence of his Daddy more in these couple of days than he has for the past couple of weeks. Poor little boy. He is my treasure.
Please treasure your loved ones. I wish I had known that I didn't have much time with Aaron... and it was way too short of a time. I wish I could say I always showed Aaron the love that I now wish I had shown to him. I pray every night that Aaron knows how much I love him. So, please be kind and loving to one another. There are too many things to regret... don't let it be that you didn't say 'I love you' enough times. I love you all my friends and family.

I miss you Aaron. I love you... ALWAYS.

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seesalou said...

wow. i'm crazy enough to be up at 2:30. you're probably still awake & lonely too. that breaks my heart. this was so hard to read. so sad. it was neat to read some of your memories though. make sure you write down as much as you can for that little boy of yours!

Tawnie said...

Thank you Leslie. Love you!!!

Joann said...

I think it's the most simple things that we tend to hold on to. It's just what made Aaron Aaron, right? Your memories bring back a flood of images of Aaron...playing games, working with Justin to help fix something, working on our truck. What a blessing it is to have known him and to know that we will all be together sooner than we think! Love you!

Liz said...

I thought of you a lot this Christams. I can not imagine how hard this was for you to go through. You have a beautiful testimony,you are an example and a light to all those around you. I pray for you everyday and hope that your heart and your soul will feel some peace.

Karey said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Leslie. I've heard that writing things down helps you heal--I hope that is the case for you Love you!

Kristi said...

It amazes me to see how strong you are during this painful time. I am sure it will always be painful to think of him and want to have him with you. As the Savior heals you, he will change your very character and help you to endure this continual hardship.
You are loved by many.

K&K&kids said...

Leslie, that was so generous of you to give (loan) Aaron's glasses to his brother. Those sorts of items must be so precious to you and the fact that you let his brother use them for a while is a testament to what a wonderful person you are. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Love ya.

Amander said...

I found your blog tonight and I have been reading it from the beginning. It means so much to me to read about your struggle with Aaron's death.

I have a very dear friend whose husband passed away almost a year ago (he was 27). She is a very private person, so she rarely shares her heartache at him being gone. Reading your blog has helped me understand her experience a little more, and hopefully I can help her better than I did before.

Thanks for the blog.