Last Thursday, I stood watering Ryan’s tree crying and telling Jeff I can’t go... I’m not ready... it’s too soon. The boys had just both left for camp. I hadn’t researched or planned anything despite the fact that months ago Jeff and I spoke about going away to Barcelona.
These past 6 weeks have just been a whirlwind...a tornado in fact, swirling around while I tried to keep my footing and ground my family as well.
But in his very calm way, Jeff guided me inside and told me the car was coming in 15 minutes. He understood what we needed even if I couldn’t wrap my head around it...
And I cried on the way to the airport wondering how I could leave.
But the house was so empty.
And so quiet.
And no one was home.
I sat on the plane in tears asking who I would send a video to... because no matter where we travelled, if it wasn’t with Ryan, I would always send him videos from the plane...telling him I loved him...and pictures from vacation so we could share our experiences.
Whenever we would travel... really wherever we go, I can’t help but see the world like Ryan did.
And vacation was no different.
We would naturally hear and see and feel Ryan’s humor and interest and love for life through the lens he taught us.
Last summer, Jeff and I joked about making a “Dogs of Colorado” coffee table book because every time we saw a dog, I would take a picture and send it to Ryan. Or a silly pose or a beautiful mountain...
And as tears rolled down my cheeks, Jeff questioned why couldn’t we keep that tradition going?
And so we did.
We took pictures.
And we took videos.
And we sent them to my parents and to Corynne and Gillian and Grant and mailed them to Zach and Jake... saying “Ryan would have loved this” or I can picture Ryan signing “cute” or “I love mommy” or “Jeff is silly”.
It allowed me not only to take the time and just be present... to breathe and see beauty and eat and drink and sleep and rest... but to keep Ryan’s light alive.
In seeing from Ryan’s viewpoint I was feeling him with me.
Because, Ryan didn’t just observe the obvious... the surface most people do. He would not have just seen a church... he would have noticed the turtle at the base of the church column or the faces carved up above the chimney.
He would not have just seen the gorgeous ceramic walls, he would have loved Gaudi’s giant lizard at the center of Park Guell.
And he would have found every cute dog in Barcelona...
Noticed the one riding a motorcycle,,,
Or the one in the middle of a park playing chess...
He would have found the cute little boy playing “football” in a crowded square... and loved every bit of graffiti art...
And so we did. And we honored him. And kept him with us.
Many times doing this took my breath away in disbelief of the reality of home.
But many times it also made me very happy thinking about how excited Ryan would have been to see all these pictures.
The reality is hard. The next months unclear.
But remembering times past...feeling the hugs and kisses we would share as I showed him all our adventures...cuddling on the couch as his eyes glimmered while looking at me... and mine mirrored the love right back... is bittersweet. And at least that’s a start...