Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Garden in Full Bloom

I sat in the backyard of my friends The Crutchfields yesterday afternoon watching countless children, teenagers, and adults have an absolutely fabulous day of "summer time" fun. It wasn't anyone's birthday. There wasn't a wedding going on; nor was this a back-to-school celebration. All of these people had gathered to celebrate everything good about being young, having friends and family, and enjoying life. It was a perfect day: clear skies, gentle breeze, moderate temperatures, a grill, car loads of coolers, and more food than necessary. Life, my friends, is truly a gift. It can be snatched away from you without warning and in the mere blink of an eye. I kid you not.

It has been a year since we, and I say this from the heart when I say we, lost Mac. It was the worst of all scenarios and conditions. Nothing positive can come of rehashing what really happened. Nothing good can come of dwelling on the moment, the hour, the day, the weekend. Let it suffice to simply say, that Mac is gone. The lucky ones among us are granted a glimpse of him every now and then in our mortal and every day lives. I swear I saw him just the other day (as an egret if you recall). Coach Terry has seen Mac as an Eagle. Jean and I agree, and anyone who listened and watched yesterday will have no choice but to also agree, that Mac was there with all his friends. I could hear it in the laughter and see it on every face in the bright eyes, and generous smiles. No one spoke a harsh word. There was no arguing, no fighting, no "Girl Drama" and calm and peace prevailed as the dominant attitude. Savannah seemed more like herself than I had seen in a long time. Charlie, bless the strong and silent ones, appeared to be comfortable with the gathering and the attention showered upon him and his family. Maggie was, well... Maggie was in her element. The kids all love her. There was not a child present who didn't feel as if they were Maggie's favorite. She just exudes that emotion onto them. They calm down; they begin to glow; they love her and she them.

Maggie and Charlie have taught me a great deal this past year. How I should be stronger in my faith. Without their faith and God, they would have been lost and swallowed before the first 24 hours had even passed. They, Maggie especially, have taught me how to better embrace each moment and cherish it. You truly never know when the last time will be that you lay eyes on your child. I believe as a part of that lesson God gave me a summer of unemployment to spend with my boys. I may never again have time with them like I did this summer. It was wonderful. I would not trade it for the most lucrative job on the planet. I learned that it's okay to not answer a phone call or an e-mail until you are ready and can handle the response. But, I also learned not to stop calling or texting or e-mailing just because there has been no response. Sometimes the message just needs to get there, now answer required. Yes, I have learned a lot. I can only hope that it makes their loss a bit easier to know that someone outside the immediate took something positive away from the tragedy - if that could be...

Last year, a friend of Maggie's told her that her job was not over. She had been given a garden to tend, not just two plants. Her job was now to tend her garden (of children) not just the flowers of her two children. Her garden was in full bloom yesterday. Not one of those flowers will ever forget yesterday.

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Mac's "SwimSTRONG" Foundation

Mac's "SwimSTRONG" Foundation
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