It was a smoldering, muggy, July afternoon. I was sitting on the beautiful Amish porch swing that the church so generously donated after the funeral. Seated next to me was a little blue eyed, blonde piggy tailed 8 year old genius, my daughter Isabelle. She was slurping away on her Capri sun and I was sipping my ice cold lemonade. Isabelle was kicking her feet which barely reached the edge of the swing. The sun reflected off my beautiful diamond ring so delicately balanced on my left ring finger. I started twirling it around my finger and I realized how much I missed him. The tears started silently rolling down my face like the condensation on my lemonade. "What's wrong, mommy?" Isabelle questioned with a concerned look in her eyes. "Nothing, baby. Days like this just make me miss daddy." I assured her. Isabelle was 17 months old when we lost John. "Mommy... What was daddy like?" she asked hesitantly. "Well, he had those watercolor blue eyes you have. They looked refreshing and always full of life." her smile grew bigger. Thats the smile i live for."And his hair was a smooth caramel color. He was tall and muscular. Quite stunning if you ask me. Oh! Daddy loved music. No one could ever make that Gibson sing the way he could. He had the secret touch. He was a great cook." she looked surprised. "But most importantly, Bella... He loved you and me more than anything." I said as I took her hand. "Mommy... If he loved us so much.. Why did he leave?" I looked at her devastated. I've never thought of it like that. "He didn't mean to, love. Sometimes, it just... Happens." how do you tell your 8 year old daughter that her daddy is dead and she will never see him again? How can you explain something as intense as the difference between life and death to a 8 year old? I wasnt prepared, but that was the answer I gave her. She had never mentioned him before. "Do you remember how it happened?" she interrogated. "Of course, baby. I will never forget." I started to unravel the tragedy from the depths of my memory. It was a chilly September evening. John and I were driving home from our first date together since Isabelle was born. My sister, Elizabeth, offered to watch Isabelle. We were about 10 minutes away from our cozy farm house that's tucked away in the hills of West Virginia when a rusty, faded-blue pickup truck swerved over the median. John and I were jamming to the radio and screaming the lyrics over the blaring music with our hands bound tightly together. I glanced at the road just in time to see the truck ramp up onto the driver's side of the hood of our old Chevy. It seemed like slow motion. Out of all the commotion and terror I heard snap after snap and turned to John who by this time was pressed through the seat with blood everywhere. The roof of the car was caving in as the pickup truck glided over us with ease and continued down the back of the car. Then my left hand started throbbing. My wedding ring was embedded in John's hand and the bones of my ring finger along with my middle finger were submerging through my delicate skin. I called 911 and waited for what seemed like hours for the EMTs to make their way to the scene. After countless attempts of CPR and cardio version my husband of 3 short years and the drunk driver of the pickup truck were pronounced dead. I snapped out of my daze and saw Isabelle jerking in my sleeve. I said "I love you." she smiled. Somedays I feel as though I can't move on, but just waking up to her beautiful smile everyday makes life worth living. And I savor these little moments of sipping lemonade and swinging with her because you never know what tomorrow will bring.
July 22, 2012