6 years down, a lifetime to go. That's how it feels a lot of the time, doesn't it? I'm guilty of that mindset too. What happens if we were to look at it from another vantage point though? Perhaps, instead, we could think of it as “a lifetime on Earth, eternity in Heaven.”
It's hard to admit that it's going to be a long time before any of us sees Phil again....and I think we all know how painful it is to not see his face, hear his voice, or get a famous Phil-hug right now. But doesn't it make you feel a little bit better that you get to see him for eternity one day?? I got to the point where that does make me feel better.
I tend to ask Phil for signs. Signs that he can hear me, signs that he still looks in on me from time to time. Signs that he's still my best friend. After Phil died, I got a lot of them. The first month, I got a lot of signs that he was still with me. The first year, they were there pretty frequently. In my dreams, in songs that would come on the radio, in something Nathan would say, an unexpected Bible verse. And then they just sort of slowly tapered off, coming around once in awhile when I really needed them. Well, I haven't had a sign in a long time...probably about a year. And there were a few times during that span that I was begging Phil for a sign..just one...just to show to me that he was still there. I cried, I pouted, I got mad....but I never got it. Not when I asked for it at least. It was like Phil was telling me that I just needed to trust. Trust that he was there, trust that he would always be there for me. So I did. And I found myself realizing that I didn't need forced signs—because when the true signs came along, they meant that much more.
Guess what? I woke up today, not dreading what day it is, but instead accepting it as a 'normal' part of my life from now on. I think that's a first for me since Phil died. You wanna know something else? I had 3 signs that I know were from Phil before noon today. Talk about proving a point, buddy! They were such small signs that they would have been easy to miss...and they were things that nobody would understand except me...but signs they were. One at work, one on the clock, and one as I pulled into the cemetery. How cool is that?
I heard once (admittedly, from a tv show!) this phrase...when asked “How do you get over it?” (in regards to a death), this person responded, “You don't. You just wake up one day and realize you don't mind carrying it around with you.” It hit me because that is EXACTLY what this feels like. Phil wasn't, isn't, and never will be a burden. I don't mind carrying around his memory or his death because it means he's still with me. He always will be.
I feel like I'm kind of all over the place with this post. I promise I had cohesive things to say but, once I got started, it all just came out...most of it probably not flowing that well!
I'll leave you with lyrics to the song that came on my ipod as I drove into the cemetery this morning:
And who am I to tell you that I would never let you down
That no one else could love you half as much as I do now
And who am I to tell you I'll always catch you when you fall
Well, I wouldn't be myself at all
I wouldn't be myself at all
Those words may not seem like much...but they meant something to me. Perfect timing. This 'anniversary' is the first one that I've felt even remotely ok with. I think, when Phil died, he left us all with something to figure out about ourselves. I'm not going to pretend that I've got it all figured out—I'm sure there's more to his puzzle and I'll get there eventually. But I think he would be really proud of me. I think he would be really proud of all of us, actually. Everyone that knew him..particularly, those closest to him. Their stories aren't mine to tell but just know that every one of us has made big strides in life. And I think a part of all of us is making those strides to make our friend proud. I love you and miss you every single day Phil. Never forget that.
From this moment, life has begun...