Every week day, morning and evening, Atom would leave to work and come home from work. Each day during the week was usually the same for Hunter regarding his daddy coming and going, aside from important days at the hospital that he would join us for. So, it always made us laugh when Atom would walk through the door, same time as every night, and Hunter would shout excitedly from the couch, “Daddy you came back!” Nothing ever gave the indication that Atom would not come back. He doesn’t travel for work and he always got home around the same time. As his constant coming home in the evenings took place, so continued Hunters extreme excitement for him “coming back.”
We quote Hunter around the house a lot since he’s been gone, remembering the funny, amazing things he said. If you knew Hunter well, you probably caught a few of his good lines. Ones that we were often unsure where he had heard them from. Hunter was a mystery in so many ways, and we loved that about him. One of a kind, unique for his age, made so special just for us.
Its nights that are hardest for me. I see the space where he took his last breath, I relive every second as if its happening, again and again. I wonder the painful questions, and wish I just had him in my arms. I think of his soft thin hair, and how it would style itself depending on the way he laid on it. I think about his perfect soft skin and how tightly it pulled around his nose and eyes, such baby skin. And those chubby cheeks popping out like chipmunk cheeks when he smiled. I want to trace my fingers along his back and watch his eyes slowly close, while he nods off to sleep. I just want to hear one more time, “g’night mommy, I wuv you” and when I would say I love you too, I want to hear “I wuv you more.” At night, I feel the same darkness from the day ending, overcoming my heart, and it’s when God and I have some of our hardest conversations. Often, at night, I don’t leave off on a good page with him. I am restless, angry, confused, and most of all completely heartbroken.
It’s always the nights.
But, as soon as the light hits each morning, I am reminded of the new day he offers and the choices that come along with it. I am going to break, and I am going to lose sight at times because grief can be foggy. My pain can lead me to scary places, that it sometimes feels like I am unwillingly brought to. But I still have the choice to find my way back each and every morning. Asking God for the navigation to joy and happiness after a hard night, makes me think he is excitedly saying, “you came back!”
I am grateful for the restart button each morning and I am more grateful for a choice to have laughter, happiness, and joy.
How easily our hardships make us feel like we have no say at all. You didn’t choose what is happening to you, but you still do have choices.
Choosing joy when life is going as planned, is not hard. Choosing joy in the pain and struggles of this life, that is strength.
“Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” -Psalm 30:5
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