I cried taking a walk yesterday with my kids and our dog.
I saw a stranger who lives down around the corner from our house. He's a stranger except that I met him in September when I (lightly) rear-ended him while driving in another part of our city. When we exchanged information and I read his address, I asked him if he knew my husband. I described Mike, our dog, our kids... this guy just needed my insurance information but he was nice about talking to me; calming me down since I was so upset I'd bumped him. And there, on the side of the road, I thought that just maybe this living breathing man would remember Mike because we lived in the same neighborhood. Maybe he would remember seeing Mike walking with the dog or the kids... but he didn't. I remember reaching for that possible connection, recognition from this random person... I wanted him to say "YEAH! I know that guy! He always smiled and said Hi! when he walked by with those adorable kids and cute little dog!"... but he didn't.
When we had exchanged information it was the one-year anniversary of my husband's last night in our home; in our bed. It was September 21... the 22nd would be the date on the hospital chart and the wrist band and the sign on the wall in his room... the admittance date "SEPT 22" was etched into my memory. It was the beginning of the three month long nightmare... 84 days before he would die.
So when I saw this random stranger I met last September, it brought me back to that one-year-anniversary.
My son Elliott (5) had our dog by the leash a little ahead of me. We only had a quarter of a block to go to get home. I said "I feel horrible" and Elliott turned and saw my face. He ran back to me and reached up to put his arms around me, puckered up for a smooch, and walked the rest of the way home with me holding my hand.
I love my son. He is a handful sometimes, and I am frightened by the responsibility of raising him alone. I feel like a failure when he's naughty, rude or defiant. But in a moment like that - when we walked holding hands the rest of the way home - I think he's going to be a good man.
O how I miss Mike!