Today was an odd day.

We took the kids to the Zoo and honestly had a great time. Braiden kept saying "This was the best day ever" and the kids enjoyed spending time with each other. I loved being with my two favorite families - especially at the same place. The weather was perfect, the kids were well behaved, and the animals were entertaining. But the entire day, I was having flashbacks of the last time we came - in September - with you. 

Now that we're approaching the one year mark, I'm getting more familiar with what exactly we were doing one year ago, just before you died. Remembering a little clearer some details that I tried to hold onto, counting down to that dreadful day. Our trip last year to the Zoo was a great one as well, and every few minutes or so, something would remind me of it. I ached for you today something fierce. 

I think the kids were doing the same thing. Faith kept saying things like "Remember last time when Daddy brought us and showed me this animal?" Or "Remember when Daddy was carrying me on his shoulders and then tried to tickle me when we were walking in the Zoo?" I swear that girl has the most impeccable memory I pray she never loses those crisp memories of you. Caleb remembered too, when you held him up to see something, and he kept mentioning you throughout the day.

They must have felt it right away. The morning ride in this was the conversation between the kids:

Caleb: "I wish Daddy could come to the Zoo today, but he's dead."
Faith: "Yeah, remember when Daddy told us he was going to come home and we waited and waited for him to read us a book, but he died instead?"
Caleb: "Yeah, I was 3 and you were 4 when my Daddy died."
Faith: "I know. He was so silly. Remember when he asked us if we wanted ice cream at the Zoo?"

You'd think they're bluntness wouldn't phase me by now, but it brought me to tears. These should not be the conversations between children. I can't believe you'll never go to the Zoo with us again.

I also missed my brother terribly today. I know he would have been there today with Braiden if he could have been and the kids would have had a blast with him. I'm thankful, though, that Matt was there and it did my heart good to see him with his niece and nephews. I've noticed him making an effort to just be around more, and get involved. It's a sweet, sweet thing to see. I'm making an effort too, it feels good to be getting closer to my family again. I think Brian would be happy to see it.

I miss you babe. I got to see the Tigers (my favorite) in action today, and it seems silly, but all I wanted to do was call you and tell you about it. You would have known how cool that was for me.
I love you always and forever.

-from "Blessing for Mothers" - the last gift I received from my brother before he died

DAY 6: Share
"Seems like we tell our children a zillion times a day to share their toys or their candy. But as moms, we are also to share with our kids. . . things like compassion, forgiveness, wisdom, laughter, truth, integrity, optimism, godliness, faithfulness, kindness, love and Jesus. Remember, it's nice to share.


Anonymous said...

Hi Veronica,

I just wanted to let you know that you and your family remain in my continued thoughts and prayers. This is tough stuff....especially with young children. I know that when I was going through a similar valley, someone recommended the book "Water Bugs and Dragonflies". It is a children's book that does a great job on the topic of death. I found it to be a great resource for me.


Glenda said...

That definitely is not a conversation little kids should be having. Sooo bittersweet! At least they do remember the last time they were there with their daddy :( I hope they keep all these memories tucked away and preserved.

Peace & strength to you and the kiddos.

My Husband's Watching TV... said...

That's great that the kids remember everything so well and I'm sure repitition is good for them to make the memories last a long, long time. Sounds like a fun day and tigers are my fave too! Hugs and prayers!

Jo Julia said...

i had a similar trip to the zoo what was the day before my husband left the previous year. i did in on purpose in fact for some strange reason. it was difficult being there and i let audrey ride the carousel there twice because she had ridden once with me and once with you the previous year.

no- even though you think you're getting desensitized to those conversations- you're not. you take it in. but it's unreal and unbelievable that this is what your child/ren are talking about. i'm so sorry you have to hear them have these conversations.

here's hoping we hear different, life-filled words out of our children's mouths as they grow.

with you as you approach the date. there was a bit of relief for me afterwards, but lately it's been more raw and depressing again.

Binky said...

I know you've probably already thought about this, but on the off chance you haven't, I have a small idea on how to make sure your beautiful children don't forget those precious memories they day.

My brother and my 8 year old son were incredibly close, my brother lived with us since they day my son was born. When my brother was killed, I was worried he wouldn't remember all the amazing memories he had with my brother. So I made a memory scrapbook, with pictures and then wrote all the stories I could think of about the things they had done together. It's only been a year and nine months since he died but it's my son's favorite book, he loves falling asleep to us reading him the stories.

Desi said...

Tears are streaming down my face as I read this. I wish so badly they weren't having these conversations, that they don't have to grow up so quickly. I'm glad there are days like this where they can enjoy themselves though, and just be kids and have fun. I'm so sorry you have to go through this.


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