No, this is not where I strongly encourage you to donate to those participating in upcoming Relay for Life events. Well, actually I would strongly encourage you to do that! As a matter of fact, next week, dear friends in Celebration, FL, will hold their annual Relay for Life. I was unable to attend last year due to a job interview in Pittsburgh. However, Jaime’s luminairia will once again shine bright in a community she loved and among a people who gave so much to my family during the most painful moments of our life.
For the first morning, in a long time, I am actually having the amazing opportunity to relax and enjoy my coffee. Although I am bundled up, I am soaking in the snow-polar-vortex-free moments, gazing “down” my backyard, listening to the birds remind the rest of us that spring truly has arrived. This past year…these last few months…wow! This busy week has been a relay for life of its own! Felicity and I are exhausted from our new busy life. However, it is such a fulfilling exhaustion. As I re-signed the lease for our home, last week, I realized how truly far we have come in a year. I’ll never forget how empty I felt once the realtor had left Fee and I in our new, home. I felt so alone and wanted to run. I missed Jaime so much at that moment. There was no one to tell me we were going to be ok and that this transition was also part of our healing. And yet, there was that voice that calmed my heart and shared a promise – “James, I’m going to show you how to make this house a home and help you live again.”
The house I hated a year ago has become our home. And little by little I have been shown how to live again. I don’t believe I will ever get to use to sleeping alone. Although I find it funny that now that I have an entire bed to myself, I keep to “my side.” When I was teaching I use to long for days just to relax. Now, I look forward to being busy. I don’t believe it is coincidence that this has been a busy year at school. I know I would be in a very different place psychologically (as would Fee) if there wasn’t something productive for me to do.
After Jaime was gone, the thought of the possibility that it could be 50-60+ years before I get to see her again would crush me. That reality still seems cruel to me. However, in the process of learning how to “live”, I realize that I’m not to wait around and wallow in my sorrow, saying and doing whatever is necessary to remind people that I have experienced a tremendous loss. Yes! There very well may be 50-60+ years ahead of me and I plan on living each one of them to the fullest. Never did I imagine my bend in the road would take me to Pittsburgh and place me among so many wonderful people. And I know with certainty that this is not it! The best is yet to come! This life is truly a marathon! I run this race fully aware of the daily strength provided by the One who goes before me and lights the way. And I am encouraged to know that the moment my wife completed her own journey, she joined so many others in the stadiums of heaven to cheer on the rest of us as we press toward the finish line.