July 4th

It’s here.  July 4th, America’s Independence Day.  I’ve been dreading this one, folks.  In my year of “firsts,” this one is particularly hard.  You see, one short year ago, my perfect little family of four was vacationing on the East Coast, specifically Western Massachusetts, with Mark’s brother and sis-in-law.  They were the consummate hosts.  We had a week that rivaled our week at Walt Disney World in 2010, and that opinion came from two boys, aged 8 & 9 at the time.  We camped, we explored.  We hit every microbrewery in a 50-mile radius of their home (or so it seemed at the time).  We laughed.  A lot.  We laid on a blanket and watched amazing fireworks shoot off over a small town in Vermont, chilled in the New England summer air.

One short year ago, July 4, 2011

We toured MIT with Ben, who is certain he wants to attend college there.  We sat in Fenway Park, watching Big Papi charge the mound, causing a good old-fashioned bench clearing brawl.  AJ and his dad just laughed until their sides hurt.  AJ is certain he’ll be playing MLB there someday. 

In short, probably the most memorable July 4th to date.  Today?  We’re the three of us.  Invited to two celebrations, we’ll make an appearance at both.  But it’s not the same.  I’d much rather be slow-roasting the slab of baby-back ribs I have stashed in my freezer for my 3 guys….except now I have only 2. 

As the calendar ticks down to the day of Mark’s surgery, and the day that he went into shock while I was screaming at the med-surg nurses to get off of their behinds to come and take care of him, the night he was rushed into ICU and I was told he might not make it through the night.  To the day I thought he’d finally turned a corner, only to find that his surgeon wanted to open him back up.  He made it through that surgery, he saw our boys, and I prayed he would recover.  To the dreadful morning I got the call, on the three hour break I had taken to go home and try to sleep, that he wasn’t going to make it—July 30, 2011. 

All run through my mind on a constant “rewind” button, crowding out current events.  It’s like a really bad movie that I cannot get out of my head.  I know the ending, I don’t like it, but I can’t change it.  I can only hold my children close, my God closer, and push forward. 

God knows my pain.  In place of Mark, with whom I would talk on a constant basis (he had that wonderful “filter” that most good husbands get, where they can tune out the mundane, but focus on the important), I talk to God.  I don’t approach His throne with fear or cautiousness anymore…I just boldly walk up and tell Him what’s on my heart.  I would’ve never done that before losing my spouse. 

I think that’s how God wants everyone to approach His throne.  He created us in His image.  He wants us to feel comfortable enough to tell our deepest innermost thoughts.  He knows them already, so you might as well talk to Him about them. 

And in the midst of the sadness I feel on this day, I feel so loved by my Father.  He knows my pain. He holds me close.  And on this, yet another “first” that I’ve dreaded for weeks, HE IS ENOUGH to get me through it.

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