Today would have been Kelly’s 58th birthday. I have to admit, I have a hard time picturing him as that age. I suppose, were he still here, that he’d have more silver in his hair and that his beard, which was just starting to turn salt-n-peppery, would be more salt than pepper at this point. He may have slowed down a bit, mellowed a bit, and perhaps I may have finally convinced him that not every shirt (t-shirts and sweatshirts included) need to be tucked in. Perhaps we would be trying to figure out what to do, just the two of us, instead of the whole fam-damily, on a weekend. Perhaps I could have convinced him to just forget about the wear-n-tear on the car and take a trip, and stop along the way just because. And maybe he would have written more songs, and played with another band, and perhaps we would be thinking about serving a mission together, as we looked forward to retirement. He would have loved spending time with the grandkids, spoiling them, and singing silly songs to them, and giving them rock-a-byes. So many things that might have been.
Yet, even though I miss him, and if I had the choice I wouldn’t have said goodbye, but I don’t know that I would want to give up the things I have learned because of his death and loss. I have become a better person because of my experiences. I have learned to be truly patient. I have learned to trust in the Lord (even though all-to-often I find myself struggling with doubt and insecurity, and trusting in the arm of flesh — and then I remember, I have to turn back to the Lord and put my trust in Him and He will bring me through.)
I have learned to be okay with being alone. I have learned to love unconditionally. I have learned empathy for single and only parents. I have learned to let things that don’t matter go. And I have learned that I am stronger than I thought I was, or for that matter, ever wanted to be. I learned to stand up for myself. I learned to think logically and to counter an argument. I learned that I can make friends of all ages and stages, and I learned that death is not the end. I can laugh heartily, I can enjoy spending time with my children and grand children, I can cherish the time I get to spend with my parents and my mother-in-law, and that is a truly marvelous blessings, that Kelly’s death has given me, to not take the people I love for granted.
Last night I had half of my kids and grandkids here, and we ate Fullmer tacos and ate German chocolate cake in honor of his birthday. And tonight, on his birthday, as I enjoy another piece of cake, I celebrate that he was born, that he lived, and that he touched many lives for good. Sure Love Ya, Kelly.