I love Spring! Living in Iowa means we have bigger changes of the seasons than in lots of other places, although this year the winter was so mild that Spring arrived much earlier than usual. Spring time always brings promises of new beginnings and opportunities. The flowers and trees are just beautiful, and cutting the grass and being outside working in flower beds and the garden is like play time to me. (It does get a little old when the summer wears on and on!)
Two of our children were born during the Spring months. One just celebrated his 43rd birthday a few days ago, but since he lives on the East Coast, we only get to talk on the phone to give him his birthday story (a family tradition).
Spring also brings memories of another kind for me. You see, we lost our oldest son to meningitis on April 10. That was 18 years ago when he was just 27 years old, and while we cope with it and deal with it the best we can, this time of year always brings some sadness and heartache, too. John was a great kid, just like the other 3. He was so full of life and had a lot of opportunities other young people don't get. Some of that was because he was so big!! He grew to 6'10” tall and yes, he did play basketball! He played ball all through grade, junior and high school, and was fortunate to get a scholarship to play basketball at Ohio State. After four years there he traveled all over the world to continue to play ball in a lot of different places: Europe, Hong Kong, Israel, and his beloved Australia, where he traveled 3 different times. That's where he was when he got sick, was hospitalized and passed away. Fortunately for us, John had made many great friends there, and when we traveled to be with him before he passed, we were cared for like family.
This is John and a friend of his in Australia a couple years before he passed.
John's birthday is May 19, and he'll never see his 46th birthday except in my mind and we'll never know what the rest of his life would have been like. But, we feel privileged to have had him with us for almost 28 years and to celebrate his life on April 10 and May 19 and every other day of the year. We miss him terribly, and if anyone ever tries to convince you there is any such thing as “CLOSURE,” they are mistaken! You learn to cope, you move ahead and you plan for the future. You see hope in the upcoming generations, like in these 2 little boys who will never know their Uncle John except as a photograph. But closure? No...why would I want to close my mind and memories to all the wonderful and joyous years we had with John and his siblings!
Spring is still a sweet and wonderful time of year. It's the time when the birds are singing their tiny little hearts out and the trees are blooming. Here's the picture of that blooming tree again. It's the Memory Tree planted by our daughter in memory of her big brother John. We've moved several times since we lost John, so this one is still fairly small, but we've had a Memory Tree everywhere we lived. The really neat thing is that it is always in blossom on or very near to April 10th, just when I need it the most! How awesome is that?