A couple hours from now will mark 18 months since my wonderful husband, Al, left this earth to join the rest of the angels. (I can see some of you snickering right now because there were pieces of Al's personality that weren't exactly angelic ... and he would roll his eyes at that first sentence, I'm sure ... but none of us are perfect either and I believe his hug-filled, loving spirit is in a beautiful place right now, doing God's work.)
Anyway ... as I was saying...
Like the rose I planted in Al's memory, I and our children (and our closest family and friends) have had ups and downs these past 18 months. We've had moments of blossoming and beauty, and moments of wilting and falling apart. We are continuing to live our lives though, one moment at a time, one day at a time, one season at a time, and we thank you for standing by us and nurturing us, especially when we needed it most.
We are healing. Grieving still, but healing a bit more every day.
Our children and I have honoured Al in our own ways - with words both written and spoken, with plants and other memorials, with donations to charities he would love, and in trying to be the best people we can be. We will continue to keep his name on our lips and in our hearts as we move forward in our lives without him.
I've learned that grief is more about love than it is about loss. Yes, we miss the one who died, but we wouldn't grieve them if we didn't love them.
We grieve because we loved. They are intertwined and will always be so.
" 'Tis better to have loved and lost / Than never to have loved at all," wrote Lord Alfred Tennyson. I agree.
I and many of you won't forget Al or our story together. I wouldn't have it any other way. He was a big, bold, rambunctious blessing to me and to so many others, including many of you who are reading this. Thank you for helping me, our children, and our closest family and friends get through these 18 months.
We will be fine. He wouldn't want it any other way.
Let's carry on.