I spent last night and today in my hometown - a place that barely resembles the town in which I grew up. Each time I return as an adult, I realize I don't quite resemble the girl who left almost 14 years ago. As I grow up - smarter (I hope), stronger (I think), and cuter (duh), it just keeps crumbling. This quick trip was pretty disenchanting. I found out that a meth lab was discovered across the street from my parents' place - and then a slum lord (who owns the 2 buildings surrounding my dad's shop/parents' home, and most of the buildings in the town) is renting a different space to the scumball meth cooks. Another house exploded a few weeks ago due to meth gone bad. Break-ins have been happening throughout the downtown, including next door to my dad's shop. It just makes me sad. Is this what's happening to small towns all across America, or is my hometown just lucky? I digress.
We went home for the funeral of a friend. His wife is one of my lifelong girls - you know the kind that you grew up alongside, learning and laughing together, making mistakes and making memories. She's one of the strongest, most positive people I've ever encountered, and this is the second time in just over a decade that we've rallied behind her beside the casket of those she loves the most. And it's not fair.
3 months ago his cancer was discovered. Melanoma. A tumor in his spine that left him a paraplegic. Wednesday they found that it had travelled to his brain. Friday morning, he died.
I can't imagine this. I don't want to imagine this. I held B's hand throughout the service but couldn't get the image of his hand not being there out of my head. When the unthinkable happens, I try my best to take a step back. What is it that I need to learn from this - other than the obvious "life's not fair" lesson?
As the kids slept in the car on the way back tonight, B and I talked and talked and talked. We talked about today and about tomorrow. Our plans for this weekend and next and all the things we need to get done around the house. And I couldn't help thinking while we talked that it was part of the lesson. These tasks, schedules, vacation plans we were organizing and making are a big deal. They're the little moments that add up to big ones. And each moment in between is just as crucial to the memories we cherish when the unthinkable happens.
While I don't want to go to the grocery tomorrow, I will. If I don't, I can't make heart-shaped bacon for H on Thursday. And that might just be a moment he remembers forever.