Focusing on how They Lived



The other day I was in the Base Exchange at Patrick AFB and all of the school supplies were out in special displays. A couple of days later we were in Walmart and the aisles were full of people getting everything they needed for “Back to School.” It took me back to another time and place, which was good and bad.

The end of summer vacation was always fun, filling everyone with anticipation about the coming year. I was able to see that in the parents and kids doing their school shopping. Most of the parents were busily checking items off of lists, while the kids were asking for stuff they didn’t need, or looking bored. Certainly they were excited, but not about to let anyone know.

Most of us have great memories of this time of year. Summer was fun, but over….school reality was about to begin. One of our daughters told us when Kindergarten was over that she was finished with school too. I spent twelve more years begging and cajoling just to keep her in school! I’m certain I’m not the only one who had that situation.

Mandy, however, was the complete opposite. She probably missed five days of school in twelve years. She couldn’t wait for every day and year to come. She was excited about every aspect of school, which made life much easier for me.

As I look back to the end of summer and the first day of school, I can see that Mandy’s attitude about that was her attitude about life – enthusiasm. She faced every moment of her life with enthusiasm. Up for just about everything, Mandy was really fun to be around and with. That memory of her is special to us. I guess Bob and I are in the place now where we are focused on how she lived her life, and not how she left it.

“I guess Bob and I are in the place now where we are focused on how she lived her life, and not how she left it.”

Last year I was getting to this place, but not quite here. When school was starting I took a dive emotionally. This year I’m feeling a little better in this place. She is not here, and I grieve. She was here, and I rejoice. Just remembering summer vacation, and the first day of school brings back so much. I’m thankful for the thirty-three years we had with Mandy. All of the vacations. All of the first days of school. All the enthusiasm!

As we walk this journey, facing each day with our memories, let’s not forget that we are not alone. Together we can face the first day of school, holidays, vacations, and birthdays, knowing that there are people who understand and care. As we progress, let us turn to the memories of how our child lived, and how much joy that life still gives us!





The Holiday Season 


More Than a Memory


Remembering Where we Succeeded