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If you had asked me five months ago if I thought I would be able to make it to five months without losing it completely, I would have said 'not a chance'. Looking back over these last five months without Aaron, they are mostly a blur. That first few weeks, I didn't take any photos, I couldn't go to bed at a reasonable hour, I couldn't eat, I felt like I was walking around with no purpose. The only thing that got me out of bed in the morning was knowing I still needed to be a mom to Aaron Jr.
At times, I still feel this way. I still can't go to bed at a truly reasonable hour, I still have a hard time eating properly, taking photos... I am going crazy more than ever with my camera (and that is hard to imagine). I still feel like I am walking around with no purpose... but not as often. Aaron Jr is still what gets me out of bed most mornings. He still needs me and over these last 5 months, I have learned that... I need him just as much or even more. He gets me through...
When I think back on all of the years Aaron and I crossed paths, but didn't properly meet, it seems so right that we were together in the end. It just all kind of worked out with Aaron, I didn't have to try to get him to like me or anything like that. And I didn't have to try hard to like him. It came very naturally. I didn't have to search long and hard for him. He was right in front of me for many years without me knowing the 'diamond in the rough' that was so close. The treasure that would eventually be mine.
Of course our marriage, like any other, was never easy. We had our moments of complete joy and our moments of difficulty and trial and all of the other stuff in between... but I believe that we are blessed after someone passes away to remember the moments of joy and the moments of contentment and try to avoid the others. You have the ability to see a person for what they truly are and the great things they have done in their life. I always knew that Aaron had an incredible heart and a great love for other people and a huge desire to serve... but since he passed away, I have learned even more of what made Aaron who he was / is. I have a greater love for him and a greater desire to be better. The lessons we learn from the lives of those around us are so valuable. It has amazed me the lessons that I have been taught from learning more and more about the life of my husband. What a huge blessing for me to have the knowledge that our marriage can be eternal.
Today, I took Aaron Jr and we went to the cemetery. They finally put down grass. It was cloudy and gray while I was there, but at one point as I was sitting there on the new grass, the sun peaked through the clouds and it shined down on me. I couldn't help but smile through my tears. I said a prayer of gratitude and I am so glad that we could be there today. I know that my Father in Heaven was very aware of my needs today.
Afterwards, we stopped by a place to look at headstones. I am trying to figure out what color of granite I want to use. There are so many factors that go through my mind as I try to make decisions about what will be on the headstone. There is so much to say and so much to tell about Aaron, but you can't sum it all up in that little space. It will be a double headstone. It will have both of our names on it, so it will be for both of us. It was very strange picking out a headstone for myself... but as I drove away, I couldn't help but ask these questions in my own mind, "How did I get to this place?" and "How is it that I am having to pick out a headstone for my 30 year old husband?"
It still seems so unreal. Will it ever feel real? I don't know.
Last year (or maybe it was the year before now that I think about it), Aaron's Dad got four little tree saplings in the mail as a gift for Arbor Day. They had started to wilt because they hadn't been planted, so Aaron's Dad was either going to throw them away or asked if Aaron wanted them. They looked pretty far gone, but Aaron agreed to take them and see how they did in our yard. Within the next day or so, Aaron planted all four trees in our flowers beds. He had just put in new soil and thought they would do better there than anywhere else. They were all about 8 to 10 inches tall. Well, last summer, they thrived. They got taller and even got leaves on them. By the time Autumn came, they varied in size, but they had done great all summer.
Well, after Aaron passed away and once I put my house up for sale, I thought about all of the trees we had planted since we moved in there. Within the four years, we had planted approximately 25 trees not including the 4 saplings. I wanted so badly to be able to take all of the trees with me when the house sells, but it isn't possible. They have all done so well and are big and beautiful. Well, the 4 saplings came to my mind and I figured that they could be transplanted easier than any of the other trees. So, a couple of weeks ago, we went down with Aaron's parents and his brother and we got the trees. I thought it would be neat for the trees to go to various family members, so I gave a tree to each member of his family who owns their own home. They have all been replanted and I am praying that they all survive. Mine and Aaron Jr's tree is planted at my parent's house for now and we are loving having it here to take care of and look at. It is yet another piece of Aaron that we can have with us.
This post is getting long, but there is one more neat thing that happened this last week. My brother-in-law, John, got Sheila re-shoed last Friday. My sister, Lisa, went over to watch the horse get new shoes and afterward brought one of the old horseshoes to me as a keepsake. When I saw it, I was thrilled. I was so excited and I asked her if the other three were still there with the horse. She called John and he said that the shoer had taken them with him, but he called him for me and he said he would save them. So, a friend of mine, Joann, who lives closer to him went by and got them and brought them to me today. I was so grateful.
It was so thoughtful of my sister to get one for me. I am grateful she thought about me. I hadn't even thought about the fact that Sheila had the same shoes on that she had on when Aaron passed away. Now, we have these to keep. They were the last shoes Sheila would have been wearing when Aaron was here to ride her.
This week is Aaron's Dad's birthday and I am excited to give him one of the horseshoes as a reminder of Aaron. Hopefully he won't read this before I can get it up there to him. :)
I love you always, Menino...
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(thanks to Aaron's friend, Dan, for these shots of Aaron with Sheila taken in the Autumn of 2005)