How Great Thou Part

It’s a warm, summer evening as we make our way out of the house. My three boys stop and wrap their arms around their Aunt Rita and Uncle Tom. It is a hard goodbye as always. Love spills everywhere.

It is now my turn to wrap my arms around Uncle Tom and Aunt Rita.

“I just miss you so much,” says Aunt Rita. “I just love you so much.”

“I miss you and I love you, too,” I say.

I see the tears well in her eyes. I fight back my own tears. Tears that flow with not only love, but disappointment. Disappointment in myself. That I let my life become so stressed and distracted in trying to save my marriage that I am missing moments with those I love.

I slide myself into the car. My guys are nestling into their seats for the hour ride home. As we pull out, they express the sadness that they always feel leaving these two wonderful people who are more like grandparents to them than aunt and uncle.

In this moment of reflective love, my youngest son, Danny inserts a thought.

“Aunt Rita is always so happy to see us,” he says with wonder. “She just keeps hugging us when we walk in the door and smiling at us and then she gets all teary.”

I shift in my seat to look back at him. I recognize the wheels turning. I can see his young mind pondering what he is saying, yet still too young to grasp.

“She really loves us,” he adds.

My heart fills with gratitude. It fills with the wonder of this thing called, “love,” when it is done right.

“I think what you are trying to say, Danny is that Aunt Rita doesn’t just love you, she makes you feel loved,” I say.

My mind drifts back to one of Uncle Tom’s birthday parties.

Lots of people are getting up to speak about Uncle Tom. When it is my turn, I say, “There are people in this life that will say they love you and then there are people in this life who will make you feel loved. Those people are a gift.”

I have lost too much time with these people that I so love.

I stayed too long, tried to hard and in my tenacious effort to save my marriage, I became stuck with tunnel vision. I stopped doing many things that I enjoyed and stopped making many of the ordinary phone calls and visits.

The everyday, extraordinary routines of picking up a phone just to call Aunt Rita and say, hello. To chat for hours with her about all things life.

I am walking my chocolate lab, Hazel. The fall leaves mark the crispness in the air. A familiar car approaches me.

The window rolls down. He utters just one sentence.

His words send me to the ground. I begin to cry. Hazel just circles me again and again. I do not get up. Instead I sit there on the black pavement in the black of night. I cry and I cry some more. I beg for it not to be true. I beg forgiveness. I beg for another chance to spread and share love in the ordinary ways of this life.

I stay there in the dark until I can bring myself to get up some thirty minutes later.

It is a hard goodbye as always. Love spills everywhere.

“Aunt Rita, I just miss you so much,” I whisper. “I just love you so much.”AuntRitaandUncleTom

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