Archive for August, 2010

July 23, 2004

// August 17th, 2010 // No Comments » // From the forthcoming book "Losing Steve: One Mother's Journey Through Grief"

Today marked the first anniversary of Steve’s passing. My body must have thought it was yesterday, this being leap year making that 365 days, I did feel down. But this morning I woke up feeling pretty good. My first thought of the day was, of course, the date and its significance. My second thought was “Nett and Chris will be here soon!” They were flying in from Tennessee this morning and Nick was picking them up at Lindberg Field at noon.

I hadn’t seen Nett and Chris since Thanksgiving. It felt so good to scoop Chris up in my arms and squeeze the waddin’ out of him!
Even though Nett and I talk on the phone a few times a week it was good to sit on the sofa with her, Amy, Marisa, Janiece and Robyn and catch up. Chris was disappointed that Kirstie and Kyle are visiting their dad and can’t be here for his visit but once he got over that he headed outside to climb the tree and chase the kittens. As he played outside, Nett told us some funny, some touching, four-year-old Chris stories.

One day a few months ago when they were paying for their groceries, Chris started telling the cashier all about his daddy dying. The cashier wasn’t quite sure if he was telling the truth so she looked to Nett for confirmation. After Nett gave her a subtle nod the cashier leaned over the counter and told Chris, “My daddy died when I was about your age. I was sad for a long time but I’m okay now.” Chris smiled at her and just went on about something else he found interesting.

We planned a big family dinner for tonight serving Steve’s favorite birthday meal as our menu ~ enchiladas with all the trimmings. At about 4:00 we got busy in the kitchen putting the meal together. We stood side by side at the stovetop and kitchen counter and worked assembly line style building the enchiladas. I softened the corn tortillas in hot oil then dropped them one at a time into the pie plate full of enchilada sauce. Nett retrieved them from the pie plate, laid them in the big stainless steel roasting pan, and added the cheese. From there Marisa took over and added the chopped olives and green onions, and then Amy rolled them up. I can’t remember what we talked about but there wasn’t a quiet moment as we stood talking, working, and laughing. It was like any other time we get together in the kitchen.

As we cooked Janiece and Robyn pulled out the dining room table to its full length and set it for dinner. Tonight we all wanted to sit together to have our meal instead of scattered around the living room and dining room.

As we enjoyed our meal we told “Steve stories”, at least half of which took place in the desert. Some I could have lived out my days never having heard! Like near misses and crashes that could have been so much worse than they were. Or being so hungry one night “Someone” broke into a Frito-Lay truck for snacks. Arrrggghhhh! I have to admit, though…I laughed so hard I cried!

What could have been such a solemn and depressing evening was instead filled with joyful stories and laughter.

Tomorrow is the party. We’re pretty much ready though we still have a few things to do outside.