There is a quote I often remember when I think about Aaron. It's from the movie French Kiss with Kevin Kline and Meg Ryan. Kate, Meg Ryan's character, is talking about how she doesn't think she will ever get over her first love Charlie. It hurts too bad and there is just no way she can get over the loss of him leaving her for another woman.
In the movie, Luc tells Kate something important about what moving on might look like for her:
"You say that now but after a time you would forget. First you would forget his chin and then his nose and after a while you would struggle to remember the exact color of his eyes and one day you wake up and he's gone. His voice, his smell, his face. He will have left you and then you can begin again."
In the end, Kate is able to let go of Charlie and like any great chick-flick she ends up with Luc, who was the kind of man she never saw herself with. They were complete opposites and he pushed her buttons and sometimes drove her crazy, but somehow they just fit.
It's been similar for me. A long time ago I let go of the pictures I did have so I don't remember exactly what Aaron looked like. It took a long time, but one day I woke up and he was gone. And I did begin again.
Not everyone gets the chance to fall in love twice, but I did. I fell in love with a man I never would have imagined for myself. We are so opposite of each other and sometimes he pushes my buttons and drives me crazy (and the same could be said for how Todd experiences me!)...but somehow we just fit.
Every December I still think about Aaron and what we shared. Sometimes he is only a daydream away. If I close my eyes, I can remember a thousand kisses and tender touches and memories that still break my heart to think upon. This was the day that he was killed eleven years ago. One year and one day after my mom passed away.
Last night I decided to take care of myself. I drew a hot bath, lit some candles and put on my favorite sad bubble-bath music. (Old school Sarah McLachlan to be exact.) I sat there, steam rising, sad melodies playing and just cried. I stayed there until my fingers and toes were perfectly pruny and then got out. I tucked my little boy into bed and I was about to start a sad movie when I checked my Facebook. I had posted a status about my plans for the night and how I needed a good cry.
My step-mom Robin said, "Just so you know, my sofa is still here and I can hold you while you cry...I love you."
After sitting there for ten minutes in tears about whether or not I should go, I went over with wet hair and pajamas and did just that. I cried, she hugged me and ran her fingers through my hair, we talked, and it was wonderful and redeeming and everything that I needed. I cried about mom and about Aaron and about life. She talked and listened and cried with me and gave me good words.
I went home and watched part of a girly movie and then went to bed.
And this morning I woke up. The sun was shining and the air was crisp and there was life right outside my door waiting to be lived.
Grief and remembrance are part of life. And because of hope and healing, they don't consume me like they used to. I'm dealing with them with things like bubble-baths and conversations rather than ice-cream or potato chips. I am learning to embrace the relationships I have in my life rather than live out of bitterness for the ones that I don't.
"You can begin again."
Every day has that invitation. And today I am reminded of the glorious places that God has given me to begin again.