Three months. A lot has changed in three months. Even the season.
Unlike the craziness of summer with its whirlwind of activities and places to be, fall for me is more about comfort, relaxation, and contemplation. Falling leaves, crisp breezes, soft blankets, and simmering pots of soup seem to wrap me in their arms of security, preparing me for a rest that my body and mind so badly need.
I have changed--just like the season. My carefree season of life is over for now.
I worry more than I used to.
I worry about forgetting what Nate's voice sounds like. I worry about forgetting the funny things he did. I worry about moving on without him. I worry that people think I'm moving on without him. I worry that joy will not come in the morning. I am tired, physically and emotionally. I welcome fall and anticipate her work in my life.
I also think a lot more about life and purpose and God’s plan.
The day before the accident that claimed Nate's life, he turned 11. On a whim, I invited him to spend the day with me, running errands. I remember thinking that I wanted to be more intentional about having meaningful conversations with my grandchildren.
On the way to an appointment, I launched into a conversation about a specific regret I have in life with the motive of challenging him to consider making some wise decisions while he was young. My regret is that I never became an "expert" at anything. I enjoy a level of success in many areas, but I don’t consider myself a true “expert” at anything.
Nate was to be homeschooled this year, so I knew he would have time to delve into some studies that specifically interested him. I offered to buy him the books he would need to become an expert in any area he wanted. We talked about his love of swimming and competing on the swim team at the local Boys and Girls Club. With the Olympics just around the corner, he could research famous swimmers, learning their stories and memorizing their stats. His passion for the sport could be carried over into his conversations with others. He got excited about that idea.
We talked about his artistic talents and how his mother had opened her art studio, I Am An Artist, because of him. We considered what that might mean in his future. Maybe he would franchise the business and take it to the next level. Maybe he would go to art school. He told me that he already knew a lot about famous artists from his mom, so it would make sense to keep learning about them as well.
Geography and history also came up, and then I lamented about not being raised in a Christian home and not starting to hide God’s Word in my heart until I was an adult. I told him how blessed he was because he already knew so much about the Lord and had so much Scripture memorized. He was closer to being an expert on the Bible than I ever could be. So he considered becoming an expert in history, geography, and the Bible as well.
That was Nate. Why not go for it all? He ran a triathlon at age ten, if you remember.
I realize now that that day was a gift from a loving God, and I will cherish every memory of it. I will also cherish what my loving Father revealed to me this day while writing about it: I am a memory maker.
I’m pretty sure I am an “expert” memory maker. And because I have spent time making sweet memories with Nate—just like on the day of July 3, 2012, I have no regrets. And I believe that those memories will be what brings healing and peace and eventually, joy back into my life.