Since his passing, I’ve been reflecting on that pivotal period in my life and what losing a connection to that time in my past really means to me. Not only did I lose a friend, I lost a tie to the old me. The me I didn’t always understand or even particularly like. I lost a connection to the time in my life where I emerged as someone I could feel proud of. He was there to witness the transformation. He was part of that transformation.
I’ve been grieving that time in my life almost as much as I’m grieving the loss of my beloved friend. I’ll never again be as carefree as I was at 21. Life will likely never again be that simple and easy, and nothing can replace the precious memories of which I'm now the sole keeper.
Life has changed in so many ways since those light and easy days. Life now means a mortgage and laundry and appointments and work. It means responsibilities and people depending on me. It means I was interrupted no less than seventy billion times as I was trying to write this.
As I was lying awake last night, I looked over to watch my four year old sleeping and was struck by the sweetness of my life now, complications and all. I saw the rise and fall of my little boy’s chest, his arms clutching his favorite stuffed animal. I saw his curls framing his rosy cheeks and marveled at the fact that I swear he grew in the hours since he went to sleep that evening. I looked at what my life is now, and I realized that these are the years.
These are the years I’ll remember fondly when I’m an old woman. I’ll remember how much my little boy loved trying out new words and his love for animals and stories. I’ll remember the trips we took as a family and how my husband would climb anything and explore everything. I’ll remember what it felt like to be a little family of three, and I’ll yearn to return to this life and its ordinary moments for just one more minute to soak up the pleasure and beauty of these years.
These years might not to be the simplest or easiest years. They certainly aren’t the most well-rested years. But they are the profoundly, gut-wrenchingly sweet years. These are the years I never want to forget.