Thursday, August 14, 2008

Happy Belated Birthday

Dear Chance,
Happy Birthday! Sorry this is a few days late, but I promised myself I wouldn’t write this until I could do it without tears, and it took me a few days to work up the strength to do that. I miss you Chancer. You would have been 21 years old this year. Wow. Where did the last eight years go? It doesn’t seem like that long since you left us.

We celebrated your birthday Saturday. We dug out the old Elvis CD and played In The Ghetto a few times. Remember how you had an odd fascination with that song when you were little? Teen Angel and her best bud dressed up in goofy clothes and rode around the neighborhood in the golf cart making the neighbors laugh. It was their way of celebrating your love of fun. Teen Angel misses you terribly, you know. She thinks of you often and surrounds herself with pictures of the two of you when she used to tag along after you all the time. You had some good times together, didn’t you? I’ll bet the two of you ate a truckload of watermelon during those summers you used to stay with us. She hasn’t forgotten you, and neither have we. We think of you daily and come across reminders of you all over our house. There’s the drain spout you ran over with the lawn mower, and your name scratched in the concrete pad for the pool pump. A couple of years ago I finally picked up that toy you left behind the quilt rack in the guest bedroom. I couldn’t bear to move it all those years but finally had to when we remodeled that room. We always think about you when the fair rolls through town, and laugh about how much money you conned out of Hubby for carnival games all those years.

I wonder what you would have been like at 21. You would have been a junior or senior in college this fall, and I can’t imagine what you would have majored in. Robotics? Engineering of some sort, I suppose. Something that involved taking things apart and putting them back together in an imaginative way. Or maybe something to do with music. Who knows? Your potential was great. I miss that imagination of yours. I especially miss seeing you sit at our dining table stuffing your face full of roast and potatoes and talking about your day. You were a special light in our lives, and I regret that we won’t get to see you as an adult or watch you walk down the aisle for a diploma or a bride . I know you would have been a handsome man. I try really hard not to cry about that, though. I try to always remember you with smiles because I think that’s what you would have wanted. I also remember you with pride, pride that your heart was too big to let go of your drowning friend on that rainy September day and pride for the compassionate young man you had already become.

So on your 21st birthday, I want you to know that your life may have been a short thirteen years, but it had purpose. It changed me for sure. The day I came home from your funeral I knew life would never be the same for me. I realized life is sometimes too short to sit on the sidelines or never take risks. I starting riding roller coasters, riding zip lines and making career moves. I think of you whenever I step out of my comfort zone. You were on my mind when Teen Angel and I went flying down that first drop on that roller coaster last weekend. I don’t want to ever forget the lesson I learned from your death.

I have to go. Things are busy as usual around here, and I have a dozen chores to get done. Take care, and if you have any pull with the Big Guy, you might send a blessing our way. Your mom is going through a rough patch right now. She misses you terribly. Your grandma and granddaddy’s health isn’t so hot. The hole your death left in their hearts is slow to heal. I know you’re always with us, but sometimes it’s hard for them to remember that. They could use a little sign, if you know what I mean. I feel you, though. I feel you all around me, and I take great comfort in that. I like knowing I have a guardian angel, especially one with a sense of humor and a love of fun. Be good and put in a word with the Great One for me. I may need it after that slumber party this past weekend.

Love and kisses,
Aunt Hula


dkuroiwa said...

Oh, my heart is just breaking. I have no will just send you ALL a whole ton of love wrapped up in {{hugs}} and a little big of my strength to help you all weather this time.

Having just come back this evening from the annual festival honoring our loved ones who have passed on, and after watching so many families put on brave faces despite the fact that we all knew their hearts were breaking...this post fits in with the evening.
My thoughts and prayers are with you and the whole HulaFamily tonight...

janjanmom said...

That is an awesome tribute. I am envious of your close relationship with your nephew! I am so glad you shared such a moving post with us.

Mia said...

That "hurt" it just never leaves. It changes,evolves into something that sometimes is somewhat manageable but it stays doesn't it?
I know you miss that special young man.

Beckie said...

You may have been able to write it without tears, but I wasn't able to read it without tears.

It was a great tribute.

Amy's Angels said...

That was beautiful. Thank you for sharing it!

Laura said...

Beautiful - he would be proud!

Jason said...

Aunt Hula, you two were lucky to have each other.

So bittersweet.