Friday, June 21, 2013

Questions and Answers....

Last night I went to see the latest billboard we have up in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This one shows photos of several Melanoma Warriors who are no longer here on Earth, sharing their lives with their loved ones. The very first billboard we had after Jillian died was an extremely emotional time for me. I’ve posted about it already, (The Chain Link Fence), so I won’t elaborate. 

Although I’m grateful we are able to spread awareness to this horrific disease with these billboards, seeing my daughters face all lit up for the world to see is still a punch in the gut. It should come as no surprise to me that I’m feeling a little lost today. That’s okay. I’m getting used to these “off” days, and I’m embracing the emotions.

I was going through Jillian’s room the other day and ran across a Poem Book she had written. She was fourteen at the time. It was a school assignment where the student had several topics they were required to write about. The poems were then bound into a book. I remember reading the poems after her book was “published”. I read them now, and they hold a whole different meaning for me. I realize that poetry is all interpretation, but the thoughts are coming from somewhere.
Through my reflections today, I was reminded of a time when Jonathan was around 13. We were at a church event. I can’t remember exactly what it was for, but it was just the two of us ,mother/son. The host of the event engaged the group in some games. This particular game was aimed at the parents in an effort to see how well we knew our child. Both Jonathan and I were handed a piece of paper. The leader asked us several questions about our child:

What is your child’s favorite meal? What is his favorite color? Who is his favorite musical artist? What is his favorite sport and so on…..We all wrote down our answers to the questions and then compared them with each other. Damn. I failed after the first question. I looked at Jonathan, and he rolled his eyes at me saying, “You KNOW my favorite meal is steak”.

I should have known this. How could I NOT know? We live together, we talk with one another, we share meals. What an eye opener that evening was for me. It is so easy to become involved with the day to day tasks of living, that we don’t take the time to really know our children. Slow down, life! This is such an important, yet fleeting time in our lives when our children are little. Once it’s passed, there is no getting it back.

This brings me to one particular poem Jillian wrote. I wish today I could ask her what she was thinking when she wrote these words. I can’t.  But one thing I do know without doubt or interpretation, is that Jillian was strong as a child, and strong as a young woman. I’m just beginning to understand the depth of her strength and courage.


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