Thursday, July 26, 2012

If I got a surprise visit from Aimee today...

A few days ago I had this sudden vision out of nowhere: what would Aimee see if she suddenly dropped by for a visit? How much have things changed? And, how would it make her feel?

When we left for Florida (the last time Aimee saw this house):
  • It was spotless;
  • Rowan was three years old;
  • She also still used a binky (pacifier);
  • And she didn't wear glasses;
  • I was 20 pounds lighter;
  • The bedrooms still didn't have closet doors;
  • There was a blue and white comforter on our bed;
  • The bath towels and rug were red, and the shower curtain was white;
  • Rowan slept in her old crib, which had been converted to a day bed;
  • In addition to our dog Abbey, we also had one of Donna's dogs, Buddy;
  • Her clothes hung in the closet and filled her dresser;
  • Stacks of her books were in bookcases, and on the end table next to her side of the bed
  • And finally, I wore a gold wedding band on the ring finger of my left hand.

But if she came by the house now:
Aimee didn't get to see Rowan move from
her crib to a big-girl bed
  • It is chronically a mess;
  • Rowan is four years old;
  • She doesn't use a pacifier anymore;
  • And she wears glasses;
  • I'm 20 pounds heavier;
  • The bedrooms all have closet doors, as does the basement closet;
  • There's a dark red comforter on my bed;
  • There are brown bath towels, bath mat, and shower curtain in the bathroom;
  • Rowan sleeps in a new (pink) twin bed with new Rapunzel bedding;
  • Buddy is at Donna's;
  • Aimee's clothes are in large storage bins in the garage;
  • Her books are either in the garage or have been given to Goodwill;
  • And finally, my wedding band is on a chain around my neck.

There are probably even more changes as well. The point is, life has moved on. Some of it has been just normal 'life' stuff, like Rowan turning four, and getting glasses. Some of it is me intentionally changing things in order to move on, such as moving Aimee's things out and changing the bedding and towels.

As I quickly counted up all the changes, I realized that a lot of things are different now, and I suddenly felt guilty about it, like Aimee would feel like we've (ok, I've) been slowly but surely pushing her out. And I guess, honestly, in some ways I have been. I have to. But then I thought about Aimee and the kind of person she was. She'd want us to move on. She would hate to see us stuck in some weird time-stands-still place where we let as little change as possible to try and preserve the last remnants of her in our lives. Yes, we keep some reminders. There are photos of Aimee up all over the place - the kitchen, living room, basement, and of course in Rowan's room. But I want to have a balance of remembering Aimee and keeping her memory fresh and alive for Rowan, while also acknowledging that we need to get on with our lives, build new memories, write new chapters.

I miss Aimee. Some part of me always will. But we, Rowan and I at least, have to keep putting one foot in front of the other and live this new life. We didn't choose this, but it's the life we have now and we'll live it as best we can and ask God for strength when the days get tough. Things will change. We'll learn how to find our joy and our fun. We'll make new friends. And we will write those new chapters that someday we'll read to Aimee when we see her again.


  1. I think of the man I met while working at World Vision and the man you are now. Wonderful and amazing. God bless you Pat!


  2. Pat, I especially like this part of your post: "I want to have a balance of remembering Aimee and keeping her memory fresh and alive for Rowan, while also acknowledging that we need to get on with our lives, build new memories, write new chapters." You've put into words the same balance I'm trying to achieve in my own home with my son. It's a challenge, but I think it's definitely the best path. Thanks for sharing. Maybe one of these days I'll feel led to write my own similar post about the changes going on here.

    1. Thanks Anne. It's a lot easier to say than it is to try and live every day. But I truly feel like that has to be the goal if we're going to live the best life we can with what we have right now.

  3. Pat, you are an extrodinary young man...I didn't know Amie directly, but she went to school with my son at Milan High School...I can relate to every thing you have shared... I too have lost my husband Feb 27th of 2012...I am heading to that one year anniversary of his death, you have made me feel normal with the feelings I have had...I have struggled with letting go, the crying at strange times of the day and night...being mad and trying to move on...I am 56 years of age and I want to move on or at least be around others to feel like I am a live...when I am at home I feel numb, I wonder how long this will go on, but like you say one foot in front of the other...I admire your strength and courage and the love of your daughter, I feel you are making life work for the both of you ... I wish you luck and many blessings for your future...your a good man and I know Amie would be sooo very proud of your accomplishments... with your journaling you should make a book to be published for people that are grieving from their loss of a loved one.... Debby

    1. Debby, thanks so much for letting me know how my blog is helping, and please accept my apologies on the loss of your husband. I really am so sorry that at such a relatively young age you are also going through this process of grief. Thanks also for so many kind words you said about me and my parenting. I truly am working to be a great father for Rowan.

      God bless, Debby. May you be surrounded by many people and experiences that build you up and encourage you.