Monday, June 9, 2008

Celebrating Aaron...

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Aaron and Ode on our trip to Canada with my family in June 2004.

Friday evening, the 30th of May... I invited a few of Aaron's closest friends over to our home. It was nice having them in the home that Aaron and I shared. This was supposed to be in place of the surprise birthday party that I organized for Aaron every year. These are the friends that have been the most dedicated when it came to his surprise parties. Justin and Joann and their family, Dan, Dax, Austin and Jenae, we missed Nate, and Steve and Christa and their family all came. Aaron has other close friends that would have been invited if I knew how to get ahold of them and if they lived closer.

At his surprise parties, we would usually have food and games and visiting. This evening, I figured that the night would be all about memories and stories about Aaron's life. Most of them that were shared, I had heard before, but I love hearing them anyway. Some of them, I hadn't heard and they were hysterical. The theme seemed to be to talk about the funny and daredevil things that Aaron did.

Aaron bought me a video camera for our first Christmas together. I put in a video of when we went to visit Steve and Christa in California right after Christmas. I hadn't watched it since I put it on DVD. It was SO great to hear Aaron's voice. Later in the evening, we put on a DVD of our wedding dinner. It was amazing to see Aaron and me looking to wide eyed and so excited about our lives that were just starting.

After everyone had left, except Justin and Joann and Dax, the conversation turned a little more serious. There were funny stories mixed in still, but the conversation took on a more serious tone and the tears started flowing. I shared my feelings and they shared their feelings. I am so grateful for the conversation we had. By talking to Justin and Dax, I was able to learn more about my husband. It just amazes me how you are able to learn more about someone when you see the person through the eyes of another.

I thought I had a lifetime with Aaron to learn a little more about him each day... but little did I know that our lifetime together would be cut drastically short. I have to admit that I have continued to learn about Aaron even since he passed away, but it isn't the way I wanted to learn about him. I wanted to grow old with him and learn about him each day that we got to spend together. When I was younger, the thought of 'growing old' with someone was definitely something I took for granted. I never imagined that I wouldn't get to 'grow old' with Aaron. It was something I looked forward to, but I will never have that.

Since he passed away, I have been asked simple things about Aaron. 'What was his favorite this or that?' When someone asks me something that I didn't know or that I have forgotten because it wasn't brought up enough, I feel horrible. I feel an emptiness that I cannot fill because I can't ask him for the answer. If I had known our time would be cut short, I would have spent more time talking to each other. Not that we didn't talk, I would just give up lots of movies that we watched and take back those 2 hours and talk. Maybe not all of the movies, because sitting with each other on the couch was nice time spent together as well.

I want to thank everyone who came to this gathering. It was something that I had anxiety about, but it ended up being really nice. Something that I will want to do again in the future. I want to try to get ahold of more of Aaron's close friends. There are so many stories and memories to be shared about Aaron's life, and I want to hear them all. I miss Aaron so much.

You are remembered and I love you, Aaron...

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Anonymous said...

Here's to you learning more and more about him from others who loved him. Bittersweet.

Love to you,


Kristi said...

It would have been neat to hear those stories. I know that I like to hear stories about Bruce and I have never met him. It sounds like it was a good grieving gathering, but on a postive note.
Love you guys

Joann said...

That night was wonderful, Leslie. I know that Justin really enjoyed talking about all of the fun/crazy stuff that he used to do with Aaron. But, we both really enjoyed learning more about the spiritual aspects of Aaron's life. Thanks again for letting us come. Hope we can do it again, soon!

dani said...

dear leslie,
"not taking things for granted" must be what God is wanting us to hear. several blogs posted today that i've read have been about this very topic... i'm so happy that your get-together turned out to be such a sweet and tender gathering;)
love and prayers,

Tawnie said...

I love the trading the 2 hours of a movie for talking. My favorite thing to do at night is lay in bed and talk to John. This was sweet and I'm glad you did this. I lvoe you Leslie!!

LL said...

sounds like a great night, what a sweet idea.
i certainly am guilty of taking things for granted...I REALLY appreciate your honesty and open heart. You have taught me to cherish things I might not have recognized before.
I am so sorry that Aaron isn't here to grow old with you. I am grateful that you do have little Aaron juniors hand to hold. You are amazing Leslie. Thank you for blessing our lives through your experiences.
love to you~

Matchbox Mom said...

What a fun night! I'm sure you were filled with love with all of those friends surrounding you!
Still thinking of you and praying for you...

Matt & Shauna said...

I am so glad that you had a great time with all of you and Aaron's friends. I hope you know that I look up to you everyday. You are amazing. I still pray and think of you often. Love you, Shauna

E and T said...

Hi Leslie

What a special event you organised to celebrate Aaron. You may have started a tradition here.

You are in my thoughts and prayers.


amanda said...

What a good way to celebrate Aaron's birthday. I'm sure he was there.

My sister links to your blog sometimes through mine and the other day I got an email from her quoting you. That you wished you could ask questions to Aaron. So my sister put together a questionnaire for my mom to answer so when she is gone we can pull it out.

I have learned so much about strength, courage, and endurance from you. You truly are inspiring people.

Keep hanging in there. You deserve to be happy:)

Mindy said...

I love hearing stories of Brandon from others' perspectives, so I'm sure the stories that were shared with you were even more precious. Are you writing down the things you remember about him,and the stories others tell you in a journal?

Karey said...

What a nice evening. Glad you were able to do that. Every so often, it is nice to hear or re-hear good memories. I love you.

Anonymous said...

We have 2 boats and I realized reading this that we have NO pictures together on either boat. You continue to teach and inspire me.
I have learned to take pictures of the people I love and to appreciate things I never did before from you. I thank you for that.
May each new day bring you Peace, Hope and inner Happiness.
Take care of yourself and Aaron Jr. I pray for you often.