Sunday, August 23, 2009

Leaf Stew

This last weekend was a good weekend. Yes, bitter sweet but good. Saturday was my last day at HHLA/Labcorp and I was shocked to realize how much I was going to miss that group of people as I left. They signify the beginning of starting over in some respects. They are the first stop after I picked myself up, dusted myself off and started all over again. They got me a very decadent chocolate cake with "Good Luck" in pink. It was perfect and I appreciated it more than they could imagine. The rest of the weekend Tony, Grace & myself just spent together doing some really good stuff. I am not going to bore you with details but it was just nice spending the weekend together. Saturday night ended with Grace and I snuggling on Anna's bench at sunset. What a display of her colors God gave us that night. The hues of peach to pink to rose red. It was spellbinding and we could feel the cool of the evening and smell the sweetness of the rose bushes planted around the bench. I have attached new pictures of this dear place that our sweet neighborhood erected in Anna's memory. It shows the 3 white crape myrtle's and 3 rose bushes all signifying June, July and August 08' when Anna toddled around or strolled around the sidewalks of this neighborhood. She was like a superstar, winning the hearts of every person she met. Always leaving them with a hug or kiss that they did not even ask for. That was Anna.....sweet as those roses smell at her spot.

Today no matter how I tried my mind just zoomed to a year ago. No the date on the calendar was different but the 2nd to last Sunday in August will always hold the most precious & heart breaking memories. Back then I was fretting because I just could not focus on what to pack for our stay at the hospital. The catherization was the next day and Anna & I would be leaving before sunrise. I needed to be prepared. No matter how I tried I struggled. Looking back on it now Tony and I both agree we knew deep down inside that something was off. No, not wrong or going to happen just off. As I wondered the house sporadically packing, Tony was outside with both girls washing the cars. Yes, washing the cars....that is what men do when they have no idea what to do....right? He could not sit still...he was scared out of his mind. Looking back....we both were. It was a cool August day so similar to today. One thing differed. Where last year the day ended raining, today God in His mercy brought the sun out. My heart probably could not have taken the rain. So back then Tony came in at one point and said, "JoAnna come look at have to see what they are doing." I hate to admit it but we have no pictures of this priceless moment except in our hearts. There in the driveway was my two girls shoulder high in a 10 gallon bucket of water stirring around leaves, sticks and rocks. They were giggling and smiling at one another and singing a tune I can not remember. The words Grace was singing was something like, "leaf stew for you...leaf stew for me". We stood together at our bedroom window and just watched for what seemed like a very long time. In my classic "old" Jo way I said, "they are going to catch a cold playing in that water as cool as it is." Tony looked at me and said, "stop fretting and just watch them." How my heart twists at the fact that I told him I did not have time. I said very accusingly that I had too much to prepare for. Oh, how tears come to the surface when I think about how I did not just embrace that moment with him longer.

I went to the movies with a good friend this afternoon for a much needed distraction. When I came home Tony was just blowing the grass off the driveway from mowing. Grace and Winston were out playing and boy, Winston was dirty. Dirty from being outside with his master all day. I can not handle dogie smell in my house so I quickly changed my clothes and got everything ready to give him a bath. Even though it was cool I did it outside. That is when I got that 10 gallon bucket to fill with warm water to rinse him down. The wave of heartache just hit me. I could see it as if it had just happened. Two sisters having the time of their lives. When I got done with Winston and he was drying on the towels Grace said she had a surprise. She had been busily doing something as I bathed the hound. On the table was this........

It was in her words a picture. A picture just for me. Yes, it was. It was a picture to complete the memory and lesson I will carry forever. The picture of my girls together happily playing. The lesson to try to remember to never take those sweet moments for granted again. I thanked Grace and hugged her. Tony & Grace left to go get a pizza for dinner and I started cleaning up. As I carried the bucket back into the garage I stopped in my tracks. There imprinted in the concrete of the garage where I sat the bucket was leaves. I had seen it before but it had never meant much. Just the fact that when they laid the garage leaves had falling on the concrete as it dried. It means more than that now.......just like those leaves imprinting our garage floor our Anna imprinted our lives. Her imprint will be on us until the day we see her again. We will carry her with us daily and with that imprint we will remember to thank God daily for all our blessings. Leaf stew.....we all have those moments, we just need to make sure we do not let them pass us by.

In His Hands,

1 comment:

A Journey of Hope said...

Anna's spot is BEAUTIFUL!
I could just picture you sitting there w/ Grace watching God paint you a beautifu sunset w/ Anna's help of course! Loving and praying for you ALL!