I hope you’re having a great week so far! In a few days, my daughter, Ellie, and I will be headed to Waco, TX for my <gulp!> ten year college reunion, Baylor Homecoming parade, and BU football game.
A dear friend from college blessed us with the tickets and we thought it would be a fun adventure. At first, I worried Ellie was still a little too young to enjoy everything, but she seems to be even more excited about going than I am. We don’t take a lot of trips just the two of us, but the few we have taken have created bonding and memorable experiences.
I can’t wait to show her my freshman dorm, tell her cheerleading stories, and take her to all my favorite spots around Waco like Common Grounds, Spice, Bankok Royal, Cameron Park, and Katie’s Custard, to name a few.
One thing I realized after committing to the trip was Homecoming this year falls on the heels of what would have been Andrew’s and my ten year wedding anniversary (October 20th).
I’m looking forward to taking a walk down memory lane with Ellie, strolling around campus, showing her where I first met her dad (Student Life Center) and of course visiting Andrew’s memorial plaque in the prayer garden at Truett Seminary.
I don’t think any man or woman who’s lost a spouse really knows exactly what to do to preserve their loved one’s memory for their children. We just do the best we can.
I thought going back to Baylor, where it all began, would be a special way for Ellie to connect with the memory of her dad. I want her to feel a part of our love story because she is the gift of our love and she is Andrew’s legacy.
Our most meaningful conversations usually happen in the car. Recently Ellie told me she feels different than everyone else. I asked her if it was because most of her friends had both a dad and a mom. She replied, “No. It’s because I don’t look like you. I have brown hair and brown eyes, and you have blonde hair and blue eyes.”
I responded, “But Ellie, you look so much like your daddy! He had brown hair and brown eyes, just like you. He was the kindest, most compassionate, brilliant, and generous person I’d ever met, just like you.”
It can be painful to talk about your loved one because it reminds you of what you’ve lost. I’m learning, for me, moving on with my life after loss includes sharing all the priceless memories with my daughter, because it reminds me wherever life takes us, we can always carry the lessons, the character, the love, and the good with us. It’s not lost— it becomes a part of us and makes us better, kinder, and braver versions of ourselves.
What are some ways that you’ve preserved a love one’s memory with your family?
Thank you so much for sharing and for connecting with me today. Hope you have a wonderful rest of your week! Love and Blessings.
PS – I’d love the opportunity to come share my inspirational message at your next company meeting, church event, inspirational gathering, mom’s group etc. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
PPS – Back in 2015 when I published The Ellie Project, a book Andrew wrote and illustrated during the the final months of his life for our then two-year-old daughter, Ellie, I had no idea the impact it would have on families all over the country. It’s sold over 6,000 plus copies, and continues to leave a lasting impression on the hearts of those who read it. Get your signed copy here.