DISCLAIMER: Over the last several weeks, I have been encouraged to write regularly about the accident from 2004. I am working my way through writing a book about the incident. So, every Tuesday, I’ve taken the opportunity to write, remember and share snapshots of that tragic event.
“It’s surprising how much of memory is built around things unnoticed at the time.” Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams
I don’t think I could have comprehended the full meaning of that quote before the accident. Like many people, I assumed memories were built around huge events or life-changing moments. While they leave their own impression on our lives, I have been taken aback by how the little moments that were shared with Josh and Sarah have come back to me as clear as if they had happened yesterday.
It was March, just a few weeks before we took the trip to Hilton Head. It was a mild spring Saturday and there was a gentle breeze blowing through our house. Sarah and I were working on some projects inside while the kids played outside for most of the morning. Abby decided to come in and get something to drink. After a few minutes, I turned to see Josh. He had his little round face pressed against the screen, eyes wide open and he was yelling at the top of his lungs, “Ab-by, Ab-by, Ab-by.” Josh had just learned to say Abby’s name–in his own distinct Joshua way. He was desperately seeking his sister.
To this day there are moments when someone will call out Abby’s name in our house and my mind will flash back to Josh’s little face and the sound of his voice. I’ll feel myself pulled back to that South Georgia day and my mind will be caught up in his voice, that house and that seemingly normal Saturday. But it’s etched in my mind forever.
The same is true with the begonias around our mailbox, the “horsey-rides” in our den, sweet phrases shared between Sarah and me…the list goes on. None of those moments were noted at the time as “memory-makers.” But they are nonetheless. And, today, as I pass through another Tuesday in my life, I am reminded of the precious memories that are being made with Lisa and my four children.
They may go unnoticed in this moment but some of them will serve as the foundation for memories that will last forever. The funny thing is that some of you who knew Sarah and Josh have memories of your own–quiet moments, raucous laughter, simple words. Or maybe it’s someone special to you–a loved one who has passed away, a child off at school, a friendship shared over long distance. They are your memories. Re-live them over and over. And never underestimate the power of those “uneventful” days. You may find one day that they are all you have left to hold onto.