Today (well, most likely yesterday to most of you who will read this on Monday) marks one year since the last time I saw my brother. I was dreading this day; at one point even thinking that after today, all my memories of him would be over. One of the things I’ve done this past year to get through the big occasions/holidays, was to think to myself “This time last year, Rusty was doing this with us.”, and so part of me was scared that after today, I wouldn’t have that crutch.
I’ve also been dreading it because it’s another step of separation from having him here with us. And it’s a big step. Not as big a step as the 1 year anniversary of his death will be, but almost. After all, after Feb. 19, 2011, Rusty’s role in my life – at least the role he played here on earth – was for all intents and purposes, over.
I have also been regretting that I let so much time pass from the last time I saw Rusty till the day he died that I didn’t try to see him. Granted, he avoided us when he was down, and he got really down really fast. But still, I could’ve…should’ve…would’ve…..
But today, the Lord showed me what a tremendous gift He gave me with that last day. It was an absolutely perfect day in every way. The weather was gorgeous, the temp was perfect. Rusty had come to my house so we could ride out together, with my kids, to Darrell’s house (he’s my other brother- let the jokes begin) to celebrate our dad’s 60th birthday. The conversation on the way there was great and fun. I don’t remember much of what we talked about, but I remember being surprised by his great, upbeat attitude, and I remember us laughing a lot.
He was always a blast for the kids to play with, and that day was no exception. So I’m thankful their last memory of Uncle Rusty was also such a great one.
At one point, we decided to take a photo of all of us on the front steps. It turned out to be a great picture, and of course now it’s a most treasured keepsake. I know the Lord put that idea into my head so that we would have that memento of that special day. I wish I could share it with you, but it’s on my other computer that is not working at the moment.
After we left Darrell and Cindy’s house, we stopped by the park near their house so the kids could play for a few minutes. I have pictures of Rusty pushing Amy Beth in the swing and playing with the boys. Another great memory by which my kids can remember Uncle Rusty.
I remember even that day thinking how extra perfect and wonderful the day had seemed, and I really cherished the time I got to spend with Rusty that day. I wasn’t sure at the time why I felt that way, except that I heard God whispering in my heart, “This is a ‘last time’ moment today. You will not pass this way again.” I know that sounds ridiculous, but I really had that in my heart. I thought it was because Dad might not be with us for long. He’s paralyzed from a stroke and not in the best of health. I never dreamed it would be because Rusty would be gone about a month later.
So yes, I’m sad tonight because I miss my brother so very much, but I am so very thankful that my last day with Rusty was so wonderful.