Five years ago today I was a wife on vacation with her husband and two children in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. Smiles came often and easily. Sean and I walked the beach while the kids ran in front of us weaving in and out of the waves. We snorkeled and laughed. We were a foursome...five years ago today.
Five years ago today we battled sunburn, played in the surf and shopped for trinkets. Sean and I talked about his plans for expanding his business. Promises were made. I had optimism and hope in my heart...five years ago today.
Five years ago today my children had a father that they loved like a hero. They were still innocent to the horrors of the world. They had never been touched by tragedy, death or sorrow.
The kids and I were unaware of how our world and ideals were about to shatter in only a matter of days from when these pictures were taken. Five years ago today we were simply a family of four on vacation in the Mexican sun.
May 29, 2005 changed us all forever. Until that moment, I hadn't ever tried to bring my husband back to life with CPR while the kids screamed for their daddy over my shoulder. Until that day, none of us had felt betrayed and abandoned by people--not just Sean--who we had trusted to ride out the rough times with us. That day rocked our foundation. And, yes, we were forever split into before and after.
The kids have grown and adapted without their father, but they are more serious and anxious than most. Old souls, they've been called. Regardless, they are athletic and happy and smart. I wear the word widow without flinching. I don't smile as often as I used to, but I do. There are days when I think I am forever stained with sadness, yet I still manage to enjoy the simple things. I don't trust easily, but my heart is still open. Maybe I'm darker on the inside, but my faith has deepened. I now take nothing for granted--not a person, not a moment, not a feeling, not a chance--take nothing for granted.
And when I look over my shoulder I see how far we have come and how strong we are as a family. It's been a rocky 5 years full of more sadness and change than I ever expected or knew to be possible. We're still standing, though, now a family of three.
Anniversary dates like the one approaching bring a myriad of emotions to the surface: longing, wistfulness, regret, pain, anger, and gratitude. I'm not sure there is a time limit for how many years a person misses a loved one. I think I will always miss Sean from time-to-time. He is always a thought away. But when I look over my shoulder, I recognize how far I have come year to year in moving away from the pain. I once feared that moving on meant forgetting, but now I see it for what it is: inevitable evolution of life. We're still alive. The kids have huge mile-marker moments ahead and I alone will be there as witness. And that's okay now. I have made peace with being a tight little feisty family of three.