Who remembers that infamous quote from the movie, “Jerry McQuire,” when Tom Cruise bursts into the room, makes this big heartfelt speech to win back his love and Renee Zellweger hears none of it other than when he first opens the door and says hello. “You had me at hello.”
But the reversal of that line is also true for my life. Seven years ago this week, a young man I loved so much walked out the front door of our house for the last time unbeknownst to us, flashing his signature million dollar smile with a wave and a ‘Goodbye.’
No matter how much time passes, the sting never really gets any better, the pain always remains and the sadness runs deeper than anyone could ever imagine. The memories of Timothy overflow in our minds as if water is about to overflow from a pitcher, but all of us hold on tight with both hands terrified that if any of it spills out; those memories may be lost forever.
Because as time passes, some of those memories remain as vivid as if they happened only yesterday. But for no rhyme or reason, others fade other than seemingly to make room for new memories.
Grief is like the ocean;
it comes in waves, ebbing and flowing.
Sometimes the water is calm,
and sometimes it is overwhelming.
All we can do is learn to swim.”
– Vicki Harrison
Each day we are reminded about the lives that remain and those loved ones we have lost. This should serve as a reminder to every one of us that nothing is guaranteed. In the wake of so many horrible acts of violence happening lately, I am thankful that Timothy was not taken from us through a senseless violent act or an accident that could’ve been prevented by someone else’s carelessness. While his death was still terrible and excruciating in itself and we wish we knew why, we do know that just before his death he was riding on that four-wheeler with the wind blowing through his hair, the remnants of the last day’s sun shining through the trees on his face and what I can only imagine a smile from ear to ear.
He wasn’t praying for his life in fear of an armed gunman or racing to cheat death from a burning building or one that was falling down around him. Instead he was just doing something he loved. And in the whole scheme of life, I can only hope when it is my time to go that I will be as fortunate enough to be doing something that makes me happy too, smiling from ear to ear when God calls me home.
While my eyes still sting with tears on a regular basis, I know our guardian angel is never far from any of our sides, watching over us, making sure we know he is there in some little way and helping us understand that life is meant to be lived, cherished and embraced at all times.
When he was alive, he was always my conscience, telling me to believe in myself more and just be me. And so many times now I find myself stressing over so many trivial things. Then every once in a while, I have these moments of clarity when everything comes into focus. I believe it’s still his way of helping me see what is really important and what is not. While his life was cut so short, the number of lives he touched in his 18 years of life was phenomenal. The honor of having someone so wonderful love me and believe in me so much is something I will hold close to my heart for the remainder of my days.
Our lives continue to move forward since my stepson left us seven years ago, as I’m sure he knew they would. We’ve all gotten a little older looking on the outside, while feeling even decades older on the inside.
But as the months have now turned to years, few words can fully describe the mark Timothy left on our lives when he was taken from us all too soon other than:
“You had me at Goodbye, Sweetheart. You had me at Goodbye!”