It's been several months since I've written a blog and in the scheme of life for some that's a long time. For me, not so much, as one day blurs into another. I wake up breathing, which is always kind of a surprise and always kind of a disappointment. It's unbelievably hard. Everything in our lives is less exciting, less interesting. It seems there's little to look forward to because we've had our future taken from us. I can only believe that we're still breathing because we're here to try to keep you and your loved ones from the same fate. And that is the fight - that despite the holiday season, or maybe because of the holiday season, this fight is even more important. It is foremost in our thoughts. The holidays are all about family and our little family is still grieving, still wishing it was different.
A distracted driver killed our only child - it was unexpected certainly, abrupt, permanent... and most saddening and frustrating of all, unnecessary, because it didn't have to happen. It shouldn't have happened. All it takes is one driver doing something other than driving. When a driver's attention is taken away from the road, bad things happen - from something as little as a frightening "close call", to an injury, to death.
If you're driving and fiddling with the radio, or reaching in the back seat to grab something, or digging in your handbag or backpack, or you're reading a post, texting a message, or looking for an address, it will only take those few seconds to change the course of your life or someone else's. If it turns out to be a "close call", then I hope it changes your behavior because if it doesn't, it's like playing Russian Roulette - sooner or later the chamber will unleash it's deadly bullet and someone is going to die.
The holidays are supposed to be filled with peace, joy, love, family gatherings, anticipation and celebration. And for most people this will certainly be the case. We spend weeks, maybe months (maybe just a panicked one day run to the mall) getting ready for the holidays. We do a lot of extra cooking, baking, and planning. We decorate the house from end to end, top to bottom. We've already attended gatherings of friends and family and probably have several more parties to attend throughout this month and next. Our budgets and nerves are stretched to their max and yet, we love this time of year, mostly because we take the time to gather with those we love. We take lots of pictures and cherish the time we spend together. We hope that everyone gets along and even if we don't, we're glad to have each other.
Most of us cherish the traditions, some that started with our grandparents or even great-grandparents, and some that we started when we had our own nuclear family. We put out the nativity that was passed down from the previous generation. We cook the foods that we've always cooked in celebration. We sing the songs and carols that have followed us throughout our lives. We attend worship services. We light candles and spend countless hours thinking of others and how we can make their holidays the "best ever".
That is how it is supposed to work.
But for us, it's different now. We spend the holidays fighting.
* Fighting to make sure Robert is never forgotten.
* Fighting to enjoy those things we used to take for granted.
* Fighting to make sure the people we love know that we love them unconditionally.
* Fighting to build connections that will lead to solutions to prevent distracted driving.
* Fighting to convince people that there's nothing - absolutely NOTHING in this world that is worth taking your own or someone's life for.
* Fighting to make sure that people stay off the phones, and keep their eyes on the road when they drive.
* Fighting to help us all remember why we celebrate in the first place, why it's important to be aware that everything we do has a consequence, either positive or negative.
* Fighting to remember the smallest things and that even those small things can make a big difference.
We received a pile of Christmas cards this year as we always do - as most of you do. And I looked through them and read through them to honor the love we have for each and every one of them. Right there, in the midst of this tradition and in the darkness of this ongoing fight, I found a light...and that was a clear reminder that in this world and in this time, it is easy to see disaster, darkness and tragedy. It's there. It's prevalent. It's disheartening. "Brooding evil is everywhere and darkness seems to have the upper hand." And yet, there is goodness and grace. There is "grace under duress" and it can change. We have to believe that things can change.
In the darkness there is a light and the light will overcome the darkness. This is my belief and it's what makes the fight worth fighting. I will never forget the joy that Robert gave to us, his laughter, his dreams, his music, and so much more. He brought people into our lives that I believe we wouldn't have otherwise met. He blessed us beyond our wildest expectations, beyond our most far-flung dreams. Those things will never change. They can't be taken away. We will always be grateful and remember. In thousands pictures from thousands of days together there are unforgettable moments of purest joy and love that will always remain. We will cling to the very essence of his life -- and we will fight this good fight.