I ran upstairs this morning to get an armload of white socks and towels, because I have severely been neglecting my laundry, and as I got to the top of the steps, I could hear my house phone downstairs ringing away. I dropped the laundry, and ran downstairs again hoping to catch the call before it went to the machine, and was surprised to see my husband’s name show up on caller ID.
Breathless, I answered and said “Did you call my cell?”…and so began a lovely 15 minute conversation with my husband before he had to start in-processing for the day. I don’t suppose there is much significance in a simple phone call, but when we hung up after saying I love you about a dozen times, I noticed he had left me a voice mail when he first tried to call me. I rarely get voice mails from him, so I was pleased to see one waiting for me. I heard his voice come over the speaker saying “I love you wifey, my beloved wifey, I love you I love you I love you.”
I thought to myself, what precious words to keep, and savor, and listen to any time I am missing him from thousands of miles away. But as I listened, I was struck by how similar his voice sounded to Barry’s, my late husband, and it was almost as if I heard both Andrew and Barry speaking to me at the same time.
I didn’t cry, I was happy to hear those words, and my heart felt full of love. I am loved by a wonderful man.
I started my laundry, and then started going through our family photos that we had taken last month, and realized I had still not switched out the individual portraits of the kids. I haven’t purchased school photos since 2008! In 2010 I took photos of the children on what would have been Barry’s 30th birthday, and they have been on display ever since. I took those frames off the walls, gently dusted them, and proceeded to switch the old photos with the new ones. As I was doing that, I noticed the remarkable difference in my children’s faces, how they have grown and matured in the last three years. How when I took those photos, we were still so broken, as it had only been five months since Barry’s passing.
And here we are, three years later. We have experienced so much in that short amount of time. When Barry died, the kids were just babies, and so young and innocent. Now we have two almost teenagers, three kids who play in the school band and are very good at what they do. A first grader who reads like a champ, and has the cutest buck teeth you’ve ever seen. A 11-year-old boy who has almost outgrown the pants we bought him 6 weeks ago, and is playing on a basketball team. An almost 12-year-old girl, who is going on 20, and a 10-year-old girl who despises anything girly. We have done more traveling in the last three years than we did in the 10 years Barry and I were married, we’ve been to Disney Land, Disney World, 10 different states, and gained a whole new family.
Our lives seem so far away and different, separate, from what was three years ago. Time has gone on, we have changed, and grown. Barry still exists among us, but this new family life is emerging, and it feels as if Andrew has been here all along as well. It almost feels to me as if Barry is slipping away even more than he has already, or maybe that is his way of letting Andrew take over and be the husband and dad that Barry never got to finish.