Yesterday I decided to go on a walk for the first time in almost 2 years. I used to walk often before my sons started needing more help with their care. I read in several places that exercise is helpful when we are grieving. I ignored the urge to go walk a few times since Christian passed away but I wasn’t able to ignore it this time. I completed the book series we read together, the Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare (blog post on that coming later), so I no longer had an excuse. I settled on Gibson Park. At first I didn’t want to because that is the last place I went with Christian during his last week with us.
I couldn’t figure out why Christian kept asking me to stay by his side, but it all makes sense now. As weak as his arms were he was still able to feed one of the geese.
At first, I looked around the park and everything looked exactly how I felt, hollow and sad. The Chinook winds have been blowing for a few days so most of the snow has melted, revealing the trampled, soggy grass underneath. My heart began to lift when I noticed some mallard ducks right along the walking path. The geese were gathered around people who were feeding them. As I rounded the second bend on my lap around the park I heard chickadees – “chick a dee dee dee dee”. If you have ever heard them then you know exactly how cheery they sound and how uplifting it is to hear their call. I started snapping shots on my iPhone. Someone did a wonderful job carving this turtle out of a tree trunk. I also noticed the lamps
that had been put up since I had last walked at Gibson Park. I started to see beauty among the ashes of the winter storms we experienced over the last couple of months.
A little ways further and a friendly squirrel ran up to me and started scampering around me in circles. He looked at me like he was expecting a peanut. I looked around and noticed the little fellas were running and playing all over the park.
As my walk came to a close and my car came into view, I started feeling lighter. I knew that to do the things that bring me joy and peace are the things that honor Christian. I plan on continuing my walks and I hope to encounter more critters that I can take photos of and share with you all!
I haven’t posted in a few weeks. Christian’s passing was just before the holiday season began and it was a lot to process. I was happy to have my mother and sister here for Thanksgiving and it did help things to not be as overwhelmingly painful. We shed more tears around Christmas but did find great comfort looking at the lights on the tree. It was a different kind of Christmas all right. It did help to go the the cemetery. A friend of ours beat us to it and left a couple of gifts for Christian.
And my mother had a company in her town make a Darth Vader decoration for the grave. Christian was very passionate about Star Wars and had a lot of empathy for Darth Vader (a post on that later).
Thanks to the comfort and strength of the Lord and the love and generosity of family and friends, we made it through our first holiday without our oldest son.
Around New Years, I picked up the paper and saw a headline called Montana heroes lost in 2014. The article link is http://www.greatfallstribune.com/story/news/local/2014/12/30/montana-heroes-lost/21076535/ . I decided to read through the article and thought in my mind that Christian was our hero in so many ways. I was in disbelief when I saw Christian listed in the article! I was touched, I cried, posted it on social media and let my family know.
My husband did the best job ever in writing the obituary. Christian cared for others, he loved others, he was kind, courageous and intelligent. He also had a great sense of humor and had the best laugh. His smile. I could write about his smile alone. It’s impossible not to smile when you see the light radiating from his face.
There are so many people that changed the lives of those they were close to just by being themselves. Christian was one of them. He wasn’t able to fly a plane or publish a novel but he did many smaller things that meant just as much. He made us laugh, he received an art award in 2010, he helped out his grandparents with groceries and he always bought us the best gifts. He made an impact on so many people with his love, grace and humor. If there was any way he could help, he would do so to the fullest of his physical ability. Christian inspired everyone he came into contact with, even if it was just once a few years ago. I miss him and hurt in a way I cannot put into words, but I feel tremendously grateful to have had him in my life. He left me many of his traits and as I heal, I will honor him by continuing his love, kindness, humor, courage and grace.