It still feels surreal.
If I concentrate on other things, I can almost pretend it didn't happen.
Of all the dangerous things Chris was involved in... I mean, he was going to Iraq next spring. We just never expected something to happen to him 45 minutes from home. I guess you never know. Hoop and I were finishing up a serious conversation when we got the phone call. I'll never forget that moment, not as long as I live. We had just decided to start doing certain things that would make our lives easier; we'd agreed on setting a few wheels into motion. In a second it all seemed so unimportant. Who cared about commutes or crappy jobs? Who cared about wedding deadlines and plans for the weekend? Chris was dead.
I can still feel the pit, somewhere between my ribs, where the pain flared up when I heard those words. It was like someone had poked a hole in me. I wanted to run from it, but it was attached to me. Every time I looked at Hoop, touched him or thought of him, the hole ached. He was in so much pain and there was nothing I could do. No comfort was big enough. No promise worthy enough. My own hurt was like nothing I'd ever experienced before, and to think that it dwarfed in comparison to whatever he was feeling... I'd do anything to ensure he never felt that kind of pain again.
The funeral was beautiful. Chris' entire platoon showed up and then gave him an honorary gun salute. The only florist in town ran out of flowers and plants trying to meet the demand for all the condolences people were trying to send. Hoop and Bob took the shovels from the gravediggers in the end and refused to let anyone else bury our dearest friend. I think Chris would have been touched... and amused. The casket was blue with pink sparkles and adorned with gigantic crosses. Bleh. We sat in the pew discussing all the ways we wished we could fix it. Like maybe painting it black with a couple of large guns on top.
For those interested, the articles on the accident can be found here and here. He was on the phone when it happened. The poor girl he was talking to will probably need extensive therapy. But fortunately, it appears that he died on impact and felt no pain. It was also a blessing that his 4-year old son had gone home four days earlier with Hoop's other brother, who had also been visiting. We're currently petitioning for custody of him. In fact, Hoop and I can think of nothing else that would make us happier. I really think we could give him a good life. But the subject isn't being discussed just yet. So say a prayer, OK?
Thanks to everyone who commented, emailed, and offered love/support/donations. I can't express to you how much that meant to us! Hoop and I read and reread every one of them. No donations are necessary though. Chris had some life insurance policies and Hoop's Dad has assured us that the little guy will be well provided for. That said, I'm going to try and not discuss the subject on here anymore. It was difficult enough coming back, not knowing what to say or where to begin. I need a break. I need the laughter of friends. So forgive me if I just try to carry on, at least until the hole closes some.
The 3rd Annual PB Contest was supposed to start tomorrow. Since I'm a bit behind, it has been postponed until August 1st. The Anniversary of the day Hoop discovered my blog is on July 25th. Arabella Day is on July 30th. The WWC has been extended one more week. I'll have my submissions and the new words posted next Tuesday, July 22nd. Thank you all for your patience. I'll make sure the goodies for the contest are extra good this year. Like maybe photo-cards and mixed CDs good. Ohhh yeahhh.
So, what did I miss in your world? Tell me something good.