Tonight the Bulldogs are in Enterprise, Oregon--second game of the season. We should be there. Once Andrew told us we would be going to Enterprise on a Thursday evening, Bill and I knew we would take off early to make the trip over the mountains. It would be a special trip, because we would get to see our dear friends, David and Melody. We had it all planned out--get off at 1 p.m.--arrive in Enterprise in time for an early dinner with David and Mel--go to the game--make the long journey back home. Instead, tonight we visited Andrew on that beautiful hill overlooking Dayton.
I am still asking myself how could this be? This is football season--Andrew's favorite time of year. He was a true football fan--fanatic that is. He has always loved football. Could it be because of all those football games he went to as a baby and a young child? I think of him in his "jogger stroller" as we walked the sidelines of Bulldog Stadium. I think of that night in the late 90s when we travelled to Selkirk to watch the Cardinals compete in a playoff game. It was so cold that when the boys took the field, their cleats on the frozen ground sounded like a herd of reindeer, not a team of teenage boys, had taken the field. Andrew just sat with me on the bleachers--a little mummy boy in all the layers I had dressed him in. I look at those pictures of Andrew and Clint after a Warriors football game: little brother idolizing big brother. I think of him on Saturday afternoons, watching college football, yelling from the back room--"Did you see that catch? Wow! Now that was a tackle!" His PlayStation with all his football games sits silent where he left it. How can he be missing football season?
Because football season is here, it must mean it is time to go back to work. As I return to my life as a teacher, I have discovered that my faith has been made stronger once again. On June 7th, I walked out of the doors of WHS not knowing where my son was. When I walked back through the doors of WHS on September 7th, I knew my son was no longer with me, but with our Heavenly Father. Everyday this week, as my heart breaks from missing Andrew so, I am reminded that my God loves me and He loves Andrew. I am reminded of this in the faces of my students. I am reminded of this by the kindness of my colleagues. My faith is intact and it is growing stronger as I try to grow stronger without my son by my side.
As my faith grows, so do my friendships. My friends continue to rally around me, protecting me and lifting me up during my time of sorrow. I have reconnected with friends from my past. I have reconnected with family members. I have reconnected with my God. Once again, in this time of sadness I find joy--joy in remembering how much my boy loved football; joy in discovering that my faith doesn't diminish in my sorrow, but grows; joy in living a life full of wonderful friends.