Do you know that life goes on even when you want it to stop? I know Emily Dickinson must have written a poem that expresses the frustration of my life the day after we said good-bye to my son. How can I look back at the first Friday of the rest of my life without him and say it was a good day? But it was a good day.
Before the Oregon kids went home, we wanted them to help us pick out Andrew's stone. We would do this today.
Our morning began as we all gathered at my parent's home one more time, thus officially ending a week of sadness. My school family fixed a beautiful breakfast for us. It was the only meal of the week when the majority of both the Delps and the Grooms shared a table for a meal. After we said our good-byes we went to Waitsburg to get Billy and his family and off to Walla Walla we went.
Selecting a headstone for a sixteen year old is a pretty surreal experience. Once again I use that word, but it really is the best one to describe what this was like. It is kind of like shopping for paint. One looks at samples and tries to imagine what it look like. The price of headstones, I think, is outrageous. So being the way I am, we looked for one we liked, but also one that wasn't too elaborate. Andrew wasn't elaborate, so there wasn't any reason to go over the top. We found one we like, so we immediately started making plans for it. We wanted his full name, birth date, and death date. Then we wanted something that would represent the things he really enjoyed in his life--sports. It needed to have a football, a basketball, and a golf club. We were told that in order for the club to look right, it needed to be on a bigger stone. But maybe he could put a ball on a tee. Sold! That was the stone for me. After we ordered the stone we looked at all the displays one more time, then we started envisioning what else we would like to include once we had the stone in its concrete base. I decided, then and there, that we would put a set of his athletic pins from his letterman's jacket into the concrete. Amanda then suggested that we take brass numbers and letters to add "Groomer" plus his uniform numbers at the top and below his stone. This plain little stone now grew into something that would show everyone who this boy really was. He can't just be a name on a stone. I need to have it yell, "This was my baby! He was my most precious treasure!! Please remember him!!"
This is another day that I don't remember the middle, but I do remember the beginning and the end. Billy and his family had things to do for the rest of the day, so we left them and began to make our way home. We did this via Main Street and Klickers. We did laugh this day, even though sometimes I felt guilty when I did.
As the first Friday of our life without Andrew was coming to a close, we went to the mountains to look at God's beautiful works. We saw a herd of elk, something we really hadn't seen much lately. Was it God giving us a break? Was it God telling us life goes on, even though I didn't want it to? Was it God telling me Andrew was with Him and he wanted us to have this gift on the end of this first Friday of the rest of our lives without him? I think the answer was yes, to all of the above.