The end of a good day. I am grateful that I can call this a good day – as Frank reminded me just a few hours ago, tonight is the 17 month anniversary of the accident. Amazing to think that this time last year I was acutely aware of each passing day, sometimes each passing hour, and now, it takes a comment from Frank to remind me of the day.
Funny what a difference a year can make – from constant fear of the unknown, to today. A day spent getting up early so we could all run a 5K around a beautiful lake with friends from the boys school, a few hours gardening and housework, a quick trip to the grocery store, play dates and dinner together. That is a lot of typical family stuff; just a regular day.
Well, almost a regular day. In the mail today came something that I had been waiting for – my copy, the first copy, of 27 Miles: The Tank’s Journey Home. When the mail arrived, I realized it had come, and was nervous as I opened it. I wrote it, I designed the cover, I completed the dedications; why was I so nervous?
I opened the package and slid the book out. It looked just like it was supposed to look. I flipped it open. What a surreal moment – holding a section of my life in my hand. I walked to the bedroom where Frank was lying down. “Guess what came in the mail?” I smacked him in the butt with the book. He turned and I handed it to him. He began to flip through it, and I had to leave the room. I truly could not watch him flip through the book.
When I walked in a bit later, Frank was reading the book. No comments, just reading. Although he has read Caring Bridge (chunks of it anyway), and seen the book in the rough prepping format, this is a first for him.
Later in the evening, I found myself reading the book as well. For me, it is a memory trip, revisiting days of such sorrow and struggle, and I could feel those emotions bubbling under the surface as I flipped back and forth, looking for certain passages or sections. It is almost not real anymore – reading about Frank, struggling to breathe over the vent, and glancing over at him now, the picture of strength.
It is difficult for me to connect the two.
I am grateful that the edges have begun to blur on those fearful memories. Life has moved on, whether we wanted it to or not, and with that, other memories and experiences have begun to fill in the scary breaks and cracks of our lives. I am so blessed that many of them are happy, and peaceful.
The book now sits on the nightstand; I try not to look at it too often, I have already submitted two sets of changes to the publisher. Clearly I am hopeless as an editor. Never happy with the end result.
Well, there is one result I am pretty happy with – I am happy to be sitting next to a strong and healthy Frank Mackall – even if he is relentless in his pursuit to pick on me, and happy to gloat in the fact that he ran a faster 5K than I did today. It is most definitely time for me to get off my butt and to start training again.
As we all settle in for the night, AJ stops in for a hug before bed. “Mom, are you reading your book?” “Yeah, why?”
“You wrote it and now your reading it? That’s just weird.”
So says the eleven year old. Maybe it is, but maybe it settles things just a bit more for me. Putting things to rest that are meant to be at rest.