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Slice 26 of 365

Today was a hard day on several different levels. All the finite details are unimportant. The two details that have importance are, I put my daughter on a plane by herself today for the very first time and I saw a friend. Well, actually a friend of my boys and I didn’t see him in the physical sense.

My daughter’s grandmother is ill so Becca flew off to Jersey today to see her while school is out. I’m not sure if it’s really that bad or not but since the trip could be made it was done and ultimately it was Becca’s decision.

All my children are getting away. Putting her on the plane alone today was just another sign of the maturity and independence that light the rest of their paths that lead away from home. She was excited and I’m sure she enjoyed the adventure. Apparently she got to sit next to the cutest baby.

I, on the other hand, felt like I was going to throw up when the plane pulled away from the gate. After that was mostly a blur. I went to the wrong parking garage at the airport when going to my car (east and west are not marked well at all) and then I got on two wrong highways after leaving the airport. I didn’t get started home until about an hour after her flight had left.

After two hours of driving on automatic all the way home I made a stop I’ve been meaning to make for quite a while. It needs to be done during the day and I’m almost never in that location during daylight hours. I had an idea where I was going, although I hadn’t been there in over three years and was only there once, and found it on the first try.

On June 24, 2011 a friend of Mikes and Joeys, Riley Litchfield, lost his life in a car accident on Glassford Hill Rd. in Prescott. The cemetery was my destination. I parked and had a general idea where the marker was but couldn’t find it. I thought the boys had mentioned something about a bench and when I looked up the hill a few rows up there it was.

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I walked over and inspected the bench, said a few things out loud for whatever reason, who the hell knows, I sure don’t, and stood for a few minutes admiring the view.

I thought about his parents. The anguish they must have felt, the pain that never fully dulls. I know at least three other couples who have lost children, two adult and one infant. From experience I know you don’t get over that, you just learn to live with it but their experience is a whole different level that I cannot fully grasp. I think about them all often and hope that somehow they find comfort in whatever works for them.

I’m sure they know as well, that they are never alone.

My children may be gone, leaving and getting ready to leave but they’re still here. They live and breathe, they can call, text and bug the hell out of me but they can do it.

More importantly than anything else, I can hug them and say, “I love you,” and they can say it back.

No matter what they may think of me there is nobody who will be prouder of them and nobody who will love them more than me.

And hopefully the lit path will occasionally lead home.

I am the luckiest person in the world.

Until tomorrow…