Dear 19-year-old Mikki,
2013. Your story continues. You will have a momentous year. A year of celebrations. Milestones. Surprises. Lots of surprises. “Remember to celebrate milestones as you prepare for the road ahead.” That’s what you do. You are preparing. You don’t know it. But you are. You are packing the year with joyous occasions. Love. Happy times. Family. Your heart will be overflowing. Bursting. Cherish that feeling. Embrace it. EVERY. Moment. You have. You will know why soon enough.
You will surprise hubby for his 60th birthday. The first big surprise in 40 years of togetherness. And you accomplish this huge task straight from your hospital bed. He won’t have a clue. This is more important to you than anything you’ve ever done for him. Forget how you feel. Forget the pain. Focus on the joy of the celebration. You succeed. And it is the happiest night of hubby’s life. He ranks it with your wedding, the birth of your children, and your daughter’s wedding. You pull it off without a glitch! “Life should not only be lived. It should be celebrated.” And so you do. You will dance. You will sing. Like it’s the last time you’ll celebrate. Life is funny that way. Not really.
Six months later. Your hubby will do the same for you. In a BIG way. You will feel overwhelmed. Don’t. He loves giving. You must learn to take. Treasure the celebration. Surprises. Joy. Embrace your family. Blessings. You see them everywhere. Your birthday is just a number. Your life feels better than ever. And you believe it can only go up from there. Little do you know…
It’s a wild and crazy year. Hubby is running himself into the ground. You worry about him. More than usual. You will tell him to take care of himself. Sleep more. Eat better. Relax. He doesn’t. He is going at breakneck speed. Sleeping four hours a night. Running the business. Traveling. Being a dad. A husband. Trying to be superman. Do it all. Nobody can. But you can’t tell him. You try.
Vacation. Finally arrives. Family time. Hubby time. It’s been a long time. But he will bring work. He can’t break away. You say you understand. But your heart breaks. For him. You know he is struggling. His heart is one place. His mind is another. You wonder. You wish. But you can’t change him. Almost 40 years. He is who he is and you love him. That’s the best part. So you give him space. For four days. You will want him with you every minute. But he’s not. And days later, you’ll realize it was for nothing. You and the kids spend time at the beach. He will spend time in the house working. He will meet you in the afternoon. At night. It’s not the dream vacation. Yet. And then the work is done. You will have time. Or maybe not.
You will plan a perfect day together. A fun-filled family day. Load up the mini-van. A beach day. Sun. Sand. Snorkeling. Someone has told hubby about a beach on the other side of the island. He will insist you explore. It’s finally his day. You concede. You will drive for what seems like forever. You will get annoyed. You will be disappointed. You will decide to leave and go back to the original plan. Probably a good decision. Always listen to your gut. Your intuition is 99% right. Go with it. If you would have stayed put, well…let’s not think about it. You will settle on the beach. Finally. Hubby looks happy. But he will have some business to attend to. Personal. Calling his sister. It’s the 10th anniversary of his mom’s passing. He always talks to his sis on that date. She will not answer. He will be disappointed, but he is ready to enjoy the sun, sand, and surf. Snorkel with his boys. You and your girl are going to chill in the sand. He will hug you tight. You will snap it for memory sake. Good decision. He will tell you he loves you. You will tell him you love him too. He will do the same with his little girl. And then he will run off. Snorkel in hand. Grinning ear to ear. You will have butterflies. You want him to have a vest. They won’t be giving them out that day. He will insist that he is okay.
And then you will hear the sounds. “Help. Call 911.” You will not know where they are coming from. You will not realize what you are hearing. But then you will. You will panic. You will run. You will race to the water’s edge. And you will see. Something you never want to see. Hubby’s bathing suit. His face. And something not right. In one moment in time, your life will change. You will scream. Strangers will hug you. Hold you tight. You will not know what is happening. But soon you will. And life will never be the same again.
To be continued…