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Now Choose Life

This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live- Deut 30:19 A 50ish woman who has chosen to live in the midst of tragedy and move forward by choosing life. Welcome to the journey!!

April 08, 2019

What I Read- the weekend of my son's wedding!!

Our growing family!! 


If you love to read as much as I do, you MIGHT not think this is weird- I have found over the years that whatever book I'm reading on a trip somehow becomes part of the memory of that trip. I like to think that books and words become part of who we are when we read them. So, it seems logical that if I take a book on a trip, it becomes part of that trip.

2008- I saw a book I had never heard of at Borders- The Shack. When I read the cover, I was intrigued so I took it with us on my son's graduation trip to Costa Rica. I fell in love with that book and watched it become a national bestseller and great movie. I have memories of reading that book while laying out by the pool!!



2010- I read a galley copy of Columbine- about the Colorado school shooting. Published 10 years after the tragic event. It became part of my girls trip with my daughter, sister, and friends when we went to NYC the summer after my daughter graduated.




2012- I read Carol Radziwill's account of losing her husband to cancer right after losing her best friend and her husband's cousin JFK Jr in What Remains on a trip to Europe with my kids the summer after my husband passed away. Reading the words from a widow who had suffered a tragic event- several tragic events- gave me the strength to move forward.


 

So it seems very appropriate that I remember the book I was reading the weekend of my son's wedding. I checked out Promise Me Dad on my overdrive app the week before we left to go back to Texas for my son's wedding. I had been preparing myself emotionally for how I would handle the day of celebration without his dad. I held tight to some advice that a dear friend told me when my son graduated from college.

My late husband passed away about eight months before my son graduated from college. His graduation that December marked our first milestone celebration without his dad. I was talking to my friend, Claire, about facing that celebration and that I didn't know how I was going to sit through it without him. She just told me straight-  "It will be sad that R isn't there to see it. But you will be there to see it. Don't let the sadness overshadow that fact that you are lucky enough to get to be there."

Wow- that is just a sample of some of the great advice that I got from so many after his death. I tried to remember this as the wedding approached, and I made sure that when I danced with my son at the wedding reception, I told him that I didn't take it for granted that I got to be there with him on his special night!!

How lucky am I that I got to dance with my son at his wedding reception!!


Reading Joe Biden's book during this time became part of the memory of the wedding for me. The main theme of the book is Joe Biden fulfilling his son's request to "Promise Me, Dad" that you'll continue to live a life of purpose. He ends the book with this scripture:

                                                                            2 Timothy 4:7
      I have competed well; I have finished the
             I have kept the faith.


Here are just a few quotes that were meaningful to me from his memoir and some pictures from the wedding:

p. 18 "By my estimation, at any moment, one in ten people in our country is suffering some serious degree of torment because of a recent loss."

p.21 Advice from a former governor of New Jersey whose wife had died to Joe Biden after he lost his wife and small daughter in a car wreck:
"He told me to get a calendar, and every night, before I went to bed, put down a number on the day's date. One is as bad as the day you heard the news, he said, and ten is the best day of your life. He told me not to expect any tens, and he said don't spend any time looking at that calendar, but mark it every day. After about six months put in on graph paper and chart it. What he promised me turned out to be true: the down days were still just as bad, but they got farther and farther apart over time"

Some of my great friends. All of these women were great sources of strength to me when I was
raising my kids!!


p. 9 "May 30, 7:51 p.m. It happened, I recorded in my diary. "My God, my boy. My beautiful boy."

P 8 A quote from a letter from Vicki, Teddy Kennedy's widow. She quoted from a letter from Joe Kennedy Sr to a friend about the death of his son:
"'When one of your loved ones goes out of your life, you think what he might have done with a few more years.' Joe Sr. had written to his friend. 'And you wonder what you are going to do with the rest of yours. Then one day, because there is a world to be lived in, you find yourself part of it, trying to accomplish something- something he did not have time enough to do. And perhaps that is the reason for it all. I hope so.' "

The beautiful couple!


I'm glad I took the time to prepare myself for the emotions of the day, and I'm so thankful for that conversation with my friend all those years before because I truly enjoyed my son's wedding!! It was one of the greatest weekends of my life. The closeness of family and friends getting together to show my son so much love and respect was a wonderful time. And I didn't take for granted for one minute that "I'm alive" and that I was lucky enough to be there to experience it!!

How about you...do books become part of your life in a unique way as with me?

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