Four years ago this weekend, I was so content. I had my amazing, beautiful three children up with Eric and me for the full week celebrating Elk Rapids Harbor Days as we had done since buying our cottage up north in 2014. We piled into the in the boat in our pajamas Saturday night (along with Andy’s bear, Herky) to watch the fireworks from the water in the Elk River.
That year, we didn’t have family or friends with us. It was just the five of us. We crowded in the bow of the boat. I had my arms around all of them, enjoying them, enjoying life. I remember so specifically that moment. I truly savored it. I remember thinking that I needed to appreciate this moment in time. In two years, my daughter would be moving out of the house and going to college. Pretty soon, the kids would get jobs and no longer want to do our traditional fireworks from the boat.
Little did I know that only 11 days later, my perfect life would be destroyed. My middle son, Andy, would be the one missing, and not because he was in college, but because he was killed in a horrific car accident.
These first two weeks in August continue to haunt me each year. I look back to that blissful time in 2018 when we were whole. We were not a broken family. I was not a b wounded, bereaved mother. We were whole.
This year, we had planned to try to go to the fireworks by boat. Despite my tears, I had hoped to honor Andy, but ultimately, we did not. My daughter, now struggling with mental illness, was overwhelmed with anxiety. Peter thought he would rather go to bed.
Eric and I did drive down the road a bit to watch the fireworks by car. The tears flowed from both of us. Eric talked about how hollow life feels now at these times, and how he hates that it is starting to feel ‘normal’ to not have Andy.
It breaks my heart to have us all so broken. I wish with all my heart that I could just go back four years and live those two blessed weeks one more time. I miss Andy. I miss all of us.