It's Reed again.
Here we have another shot from Jack's Camp. I figured we already had lots of pictures of Carmen on the blog, so I picked this one of Vincent in his younger days, before he turned 7 and all. I wonder what's on his mind here.
I've been meaning to write this post for several days now. Thanks to all of you who participated in the ice cream social are long overdue. Hard to believe that was nearly two weeks ago! We were once again overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support we received from all of you. There is no way we could name everyone, yet it's literally true that every single one of you has strengthened us and lifted us higher.
So what's next?
Life without Carmen is next. No, she hasn't forgotten us, and we certainly haven't forgotten her, but she's on the other side of the veil now. We went out to dinner as a family (a rare event) the other night. There was a gap between two of our boys, where Carmen might have been once upon a time. I tried not to think about it at that moment, but my eyes kept moving back to the empty seat. Our first family dinner at a restaurant without Carmen. I try not to overdo this in my mind, but I can't help but notice her absence.
On Sunday I visited Primary (children's Sunday school) for the first time since Carmen died. It was hard. All those little girls in there, reminding me of my own little girl. Do you know what, I don't mind crying. I actually crave it because those are the times when Carmen seems the most real to me. It alarms me, how much I typically forget about her, all the little everyday things I always took for granted before. Her hair. They shaved it off before her initial surgery, and it never really grew back. It tried, but it just ran out of time.
People ask us what we need. Do you know what I feel a need for more than anything? Communication, any form, with people who care about Carmen. Each word, each touch, is like a lifeline that I cannot wait to grab hold of. I know some people (maybe almost all people) worry about saying the wrong thing. I'm not going to lie, there are wrong things that can be said. And quite honestly, there are not that many right things that can be said, either. "Hang in there" and "It gets better" are noble sentiments, but did you know that these things are already implied by the fact that you care enough to reach out in the first place? No words are eloquent enough to say more than that mere gesture of reaching out.
To those of you who have done so, who continue to do so, or who will do so, we owe you undying gratitude. Those you help in the future will thank you as well.