i’m sitting here in quiet reflection. there’s been a ton of activity the last week or so, and i’m a bit tired. emotionally. physically. all of it. we’re back in portland. thankfully, i don’t have to go back to work until tomorrow. so, today i am settling in, doing laundry, writing thank you cards, reading, relaxing, and watching my new oprah dvd set kimmie gave to me. i already miss the sunny and warm weather in florida. it’s cloudy and cool and rainy today in portland, which matches my mood exactly.
it’s my mom’s birthday today. and 22 years ago today we buried my adoptive father, Jerry Roberts. he was killed in a car accident Dec 27 and buried on my mother’s birthday, dec 29th, today. 22 years ago an ocean of grief filled my heart and continues to spill over into my life, even now. i have been forever changed by it. we all have. my mom, my sister, my grandparents. i was exactly 8 1/2 at the time. cabbage patch dolls, checkered slip-on Vans shoes, and cassette walkmans were all the rage for a kid my age at the time. i was into showing off my cheering skills to anyone who would watch. cartwheels and batons. daily swims in our lake after school. knee boarding behind our boat every weekend. fishing with my granddad in the mornings before school. all of it stopped when jerry died. all of it. the joy and laughter just floated away for a long, long time. 22 years later you’d be surprised how often that ocean of grief still spills over when i least expect it. in the car. in a movie theatre. in a random thought. in a song. in my mother’s voice. i think of the possibilities. the lost possibilities of his wonderful life, our life as a family. i lost a parent during Christmas break in the 3rd grade, and my mom lost her love, and in turn, we lost a little of her, too. it was a hard time. lucky for me, i got greg years later. and i am very much fulfilled in my relationship with him as my father now, but the ache of a lost parent stays with me, and i suppose it always will. my mom was in her young 30s at the time, just a tad older than i am now. and i think about john and i cannot even begin to fathom losing him at this time in our life and i can’t even imagine what that must have been like for my mom, and then to continue life raising 2 kids in the midst of her horror. they were building their dream home together when he died. gone. in a second. dead. i believe there are experiences in one’s life that provide filters through which they see the world. this is one of those experiences for me. i learned at a very early age that the world is not a safe place. that heartbreaking things occur every single day. that life can end in a split second. it took awhile for me to shift my perspective to living a life with gratitude of every single day, to be grateful and to celebrate every single friendship and relationship and to not dwell on your personal heartbreaks, but to celebrate them, and the answers and wisdom and truth they bring to my life. i only get one chance. i want to live honestly, freely, spiritually. i want to honor jerry’s life. i want to honor my own life. so, today, on my mom’s birthday, not only do i celebrate her life and our relationship, but also jerry’s life. he lived a great life, and continues to teach me what’s important in life and love. i will never forget him.