Steps…

Steps…

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, 269. The Statue of Liberty, 354. The Empire State Building, 1,576. The Eiffel Tower, 1,710. When it was standing, The World Trade Center One, 2,226. The Burj Knalifa in Dubai, 2,909. In case you where wondering, this is how many steps are in each of these buildings. This is how many steps it takes to reach the top. I am sure there has been several people that have climbed each and everyone of those steps and have reach the tops of these buildings. There are so many different uses for the word “steps.” There is “Baby Steps”, where a person takes their time while learning or progressing in a project to reach their goal. The “Twelve Step Program” for people with addictions to reach sobriety. “Steps to follow” in policy and procedure to make sure every one and everything reaches compliancy. “One small step for man, one small step for mankind” when man first reached the moon on July 20, 1969. The various steps taken in a scientific experiment that reach a conclusion started from an idea. There is also “strides” or “leaps and bounds” in which a person can move forward or improve while trying to reach perfection.

What about grief? How many steps does it take to reach the top. How many steps does it take to reach the end of the journey, how many steps does it take to come or reach a final conclusion or destination. I can tell you right now the number is inconclusive, infinite, countless, incalculable, incomputable, inestimable, innumerable and exhaustless. In every building, in every program, in every accomplishment some one can tell you how many steps it takes to complete, to reach the end. In grief, that number does not exist, the amount of steps are undetermined, and to reach “grief sobriety” takes a “lifetime step” program. (If you have been through a “Twelve Step Program” for addiction, please understand I am not making light of the daily battle you have with the addiction, I am only using it as an example. I commend you for your sobriety.) There are some days when you feel you have to climb all 9,044 steps of every building listed above just to get out of bed, not to mention function throughout the day. On the other hand there are some days you take one step, think of that loved ones smile and you have reach the top. Everyday is a step, every year is a step, every birthday, and every anniversary is a step. Every holiday is a step, every wedding you go to, every picture of a new born is a step. Everyday when I leave my neighborhood is a step. Every day when I drive past where Lindsay’s car was sitting is a step. Life, is a step. Everyday we climb the staircase of grief never knowing how many steps we will have to take that day. It seems that the steps we are taking are always going down.

There are days I think of all the other steps that have taken me and my family on this journey. The steps that have been taken to make the entrance of our neighborhood safer. The steps taken to try and save Lindsay’s life at the accident and at the hospital. The steps that total strangers took to be by her side after the accident. The steps that were taken to allow Lindsay to fulfill her dream of saving lives. The steps we, as her family, have taken to start a foundation in her name. The steps that so many  family members, friends and strangers have taken to be by our sides. The steps that have been taken to bring awareness to organ donation and registration. The steps that were taken to mend broken hearts and lives. The steps we took, together, on the beach. There have been many positive and uplifting steps taken from this tragedy. These are the steps I try to climb everyday.

Most of the steps I have referred to above are hypothetical, or metaphoric, but in my home there are thirteen real steps, thirteen steps that lead up to Lindsay’s room. These   were the hardest steps I have every climbed after Lindsay passed away. It took me weeks before I could walk up those stairs and could not do it alone. I have gone up those thirteen steps twice in the past 762 days. Once with my wife and once with Lindsay’s mom, I knew in my heart there was a third person walking with me, Lindsay. You see, you don’t walk up or take all these steps of grief alone, your loved one is right by your side taking every step with you. They give you the strength to carry on, the strength to put one foot in front of the other. I know this, I believe this and I know one day, to see Lindsay again, I will only have to take one more step.

 

Time…

Time…

It is Easter morning, my son Jarrett is here, Kelli is here, my mom and Kathy, Kelli’s mom, are coming over later to eat and we will get to spend some time together. I will get to eat breakfast with Jarrett because he has to work today, so I am thankful for the time we will get to spend together. What is time, “Time is the indefinite continued progress of existence and events that occur in apparently irreversible succession from the past through the present to the future,” Time is such an important part of our lives and it is what we live our lives around. Time to go to work. Time to go to bed. What time is it? What time is dinner? Have to hurry, we are running out of time. You have all the time in the world. Take your time. Time is money. Time is precious. I could go on for hours about time, but the one thing about time that will always be true, it never stands still. Time is always in constant motion, the clocks are turning, the sun is rising, the moon is setting, and our lives go on. The question I often ask myself. “As a grieving parent is it wrong to want time to stop, to stand still, to cease to exist?” We look at time as a measuring stick to our existence here on earth. We judge the quantity of our time based upon the quality of our time. The average lifespan in the United States today covers 78.74 years. That may seem like a long time, but when you wake up one morning and realize you have lived longer than you have left to live, it is a very short period of time. When Lindsay was in the hospital we became close to a lot of her friends. Over the past year and a half we have watched them grow and expand their lives. Several have gone on to college, some have gotten married, some are starting their careers, some are having children of their own and some are graduating. As for all these wonderful young people I wish nothing but the best and I would never hope that their time stand still. Time marches on, time knows no boundaries, and according to Albert Einstein, “Time is an illusion.” With every second that passes your past is expanded and your future lessened. I know that time will keep moving forward for all of Lindsay’s friends, I know that time will keep going for Jarrett, and the rest of my family. We all have to move forward, we all have to grow and we all have to live. I know that every second of the day creates a new memory for the future, and it has to. The world’s time clock does not stop because your heart is broken, because your world is shattered, because your child is no longer here, but so many times, I wish with all my heart, it would. I have said before that when you lose a child all you have is memories, because there is no more time to make new ones. Time is all we have while we are here on this earth, so use it wisely. We seem to never have enough time to share with the ones we love. We seem to never have the time to do the things we love. We seem to never have the time to enjoy time. Please take the time before time stops for you, before there is no more time for new memories.

There was once a man, that for thirty three years of time, walked this earth. At the end of those years he hung from a cross for six hours to die. This same man laid in an unmarked tomb for three days. At the end of those three days he arose and ascended into heaven to be with his Father. Now, in heaven, Lindsay walks with him everyday in a place that knows no time. Because God placed himself on this earth in the form of a man for thirty three years, Lindsay now lives in a timeless and infinite paradise. 

In the movie “Fried Green Tomatoes” there is a scene where the character Ruth passes away after a long illness. When she breaths her last the character Sipsey walks over to the families Grandfather clock, opens the front and reaches in to stop the pendulum from swinging, stopping time. If only I had a grandfathers clock that day, the afternoon of August 21, 2016 around three o’clock. My heart wishes that all time ceased to exist. I wish that metaphoric clock was there so I could have stopped time before time stopped making memories. Selfish, greedy, self-indulgent, to a grieving father I believe not. That afternoon, the time spent before Lindsay’s accident, was so special, there was no illusion Albert, it was real. These last precious moments of time were ones that will never leave my mind, they are the scar tissue that covers the pain that will last forever in my heart.