Some anniversaries are really good. Important. Worth remembering.
Our spouse’s birthday.
Our kid’s birthdays.
Others might not be quite as important, but we often remember them nevertheless. Our first kiss. The first time you really loved someone. For some, when you became a Christian. When you accomplished some milestone in life (ran a marathon…did an iron distance tri…ran a 5k for the first time). The first time you had s….ummm…. you know. Where you were when the Challenger blew up. 9/11.
Today, I’m remembering an anniversary that I really wish I didn’t need to. Twenty years ago, my mother died.
It’s crazy how, even after all these years, the sheer emotion that accompanies this day is still raw. Twenty year is such a long time. So much of my life (like almost half of it) has passed since that day back in 1993. There are so many things that she’s missed. My wedding. Holding my children. Seeing me grow from the stupid, irresponsible kid I was back then to the man I am today. Day-to-day joys and sorrows that are life.
And yet, while she’s not been here for the past 20 years, she has been HERE.
I don’t know if I believe in ghosts or spirits or whatever, but I do believe in Heaven – and I know she’s there. She’s been watching. Moreover, I really think there have been times where she’s actually come down and visited.
I recall one particular night fifteen years or so ago, when my oldest daughter was still an infant. I don’t think she was quite a year old yet. Still sleeping in a crib. Like many parents, Jennifer and I had for her every possible noise-making toy known to man. We kept them in one of those big plastic tubs in Courtney’s room. This one particular night, I was awaken by a cacophony of sound. Every one of those noise-making toys was on. They were lit up like a Christmas tree. Blinking, honking, singing, whistling. You name it. I got up to go investigate, and just as I reached the bucket, they all stopped. At the same time. And I was overcome with a feeling of peace (and goosebumps). I’m positive it was Mom. There to check up on her granddaughter and to let us know she’d been there.
There have been other similar experiences over the two decades. Like when my wife had heart surgery two years ago or when my son was in his car crash last summer. These have been instances where I know she was HERE.
And yet, despite these, she hasn’t been here for the past 20 years. And that makes me sad.
Today is one anniversary that I wish I didn’t have to remember.