It was a exactly one year ago, yesterday, as I was leaving to go home that I leaned over you sitting so quietly in your "man chair" and kissed your pokey-haired top of your head and said I loved you. You were lucid and clearly replied "I love you, too."
Those are the last words we spoke to each other in this life. Doesn't get better than that. How many friends are lucky enough to get to say that?
It will be a year on Wednesday that I raced to your house, only to have you pass away when I was parking the car in your driveway. At first I was mad at you. How could you die without me? Couldn't you have waited that extra 30 seconds? I deserved to be there. I had earned it.
But, a year later, I have gone back to that moment of you in the man chair several times, and have decided that THAT was the perfect ending to this chapter of our friendship.
Ahhh, the difference a year makes.
Yesterday, June 2nd, I found a Tom mix cd you had burned for our family in August 2004. It was full our your favorite songs, some of which I had never heard before meeting you. I remember the conversation when we talked about all those songs. We were in Northtowne at the Wendy's. You were driving Mr. Fun and I around in the big blue truck, looking for a car to buy. Ours had been totaled in an accident that almost killed The Boy and set off a chain of crazy events that summer. I will never forget that year and believe me, sometimes wish I could.
So, as I am speeding along yesterday in the sunny yellow car, listening to the Tom Was Here mix, your man Enrique Iglesis came on. And I smiled.
It was awesome, Tom. I smiled for happiness. And I had peace. It was one, if not the first genuine time, that when something reminded me of you, I didn't wince on the inside. I was joyful. I was thinking of you and not thinking "I can't believe he is dead" or "How much we all miss him." It was plain and sweet "Tom loved this guy."
Ahhh, the difference a year makes.
I know that everyone is not living in the "wince-free" zone. I know.
Because you progressed in your eternal journey, for lack of a better phrase it "freed me up" to go on to different things. Things we might not have fully invested in if you had still been here.
I like to think of this as the "Silver Lining" that you moved on.
We went to Alaska. For a long time.
I went to Utah for a day.
The Girl lived out her bucket list and we went to Mil-i-wau-kee.
Thanks Wayne's World.
We made new friends.
We volunteered more.
The baby goats started trooping.
We took more field trips for fun.
And I stopped feeling guilty you
were too sick to come along.
I spent more time alone,
which has been healthy for me.
I witnessed a miracle at the Cultural Celebration
with my own eyes.
We dedicated the temple.
I got to help write a book.
and the Temple Chasers got to be together IN the temple,
not just lurk around outside.
Beloved Tom, I wanted you to know that you are missed every day. That we think of you at all sorts of great and sad times. I know for myself that your spirit continues to live. For moments to sacred to share in public, this I know.
It will be my honor to share your life on Thursday in front of 300 folks who work for hospice. I hope you can join us. That is 300 folks who were not blessed to know you in this life. I know they will feel like they missed out. I know I would have.
We are happy and we are loving you. You know we can't help it. You are just so "Hoover Dam" cool that way.
Ahh, the difference a year makes. :)