~Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera~
Well, here we are once again. July 4th.
If you have been following along, you know that last year, I was running for the hills, trying to get away from the 4th of July. I wanted absolutely nothing to do with the day. The day however, had different plans...
So, this year, I was not afraid of the balloons, fireworks, the red, white or blue. I knew it would be a tough day, being two whole years since Stephen died. But I carried with me the lesson of last year, that it is okay to be happy on this day, even through tears. You don't need to, nor can you, run away from life.
My husband and I decided to get away and have a quiet 4th together, remembering a wonderful son and all the love he brought into our lives. We packed the car, made sure Rudy the Wonder Dog was comfortable, and off we went. About an hour into the drive we had to abruptly stop, as we came upon an accident that had happened just moments before. Saying a silent prayer, my mind was racing. I was thinking about the people involved and their families. I was reliving the call I received on the evening of July 4th, hoping that some mother or father would not have to experience a moment like that one.
We sat on the road for about an hour and forty five minutes as the responders worked feverishly to help the occupants of the vehicles. Two helicopters landed to airlift the critically injured.
It's hard to explain the range of emotions as we sat and watched this unfold. I prayed and prayed, hoping for a positive end to this story. Our fellow motorists, cars packed to the ceiling, mingled and talked quietly as they gazed towards the flashing lights.
We all realized it. It could be any one of us. If Mary hadn't been so long in the bathroom, if Joe didn't need to stop for another Diet Coke. It could be any of us.
As the State troopers directed the steady stream of traffic once the accident had been cleared, we slowly drove past the mangled vehicle. A lonely kayak lay overturned on the side of the road, dislodged from its carrier, no longer on the way to the beach.
I'm not sure what happened to those involved. I pray they are okay.
Two road trips trying to cope with the 4th of July have taught me two valuable lessons in life.
Last July, I learned that it is okay to let myself be happy, even on the tough days, even if that happiness is mixed with tremendous sadness.
This year, I was reminded that a happy life is to be lived now.
Because life can bring change with the blink of an eye.
So, on this July 4th, do me a favor. Consider this your Independence Day. Break free from the chains of past hurts and allow yourself to be happy. Don't let your future be dependent on what has happened to you up to this point. Let your life be defined by you.
For me, that independence means starting something new. I've created a new blog called Just One Little Thing
In it, I plan to continue the conversation about life and gratitude, with a focus on life. It is the next chapter. I do hope that you follow me. I've also created a facebook group where you can share your one little thing. I see this as part of Stephen's legacy, as I feel his smile with each bit of goodness that I share with others. It launched today. I wanted it to begin on the 4th, showing myself and others that happy and sad can coexist. Truthfully, one cannot exist without the other.
Today, my one little thing is a big thing. Today I am thankful for being Stephen's mom. My son, my teacher, he continues to show me the way.
I will leave you with a song by an amazing songwriter and artist, Chris Trapper. He wrote this song after the passing of a friend. I simply love it. I think if Stephen could put in a request, he would tell all of us to sing along.
Thanks for walking with me,