Sometimes, life isn't very fair.
I feel that sentiment now, in my bones, in my heart. I feel it every day, every hour even. I feel it every time I look at my niece, Rowan.
Today, I watched after Rowan while her father, Pat, was at work. We had a tea party with grandma and with Uncle Justin, and then we settled down for some cartoons. (Dora, her favorite.) At one point, Rowie climbed over to me, curling her little body next to mine, and she stared at me with her great blue eyes.
She said, "I love you, Caroline!"
And I melted. And I hugged her close. And I thought...
Life isn't fair. Aimee should be here. She should watch her little girl grow. She should wake up next to her husband. She should be here, instead of there. Here, with us. Here, with Rowan.
Can I tell you guys a little story about Aimee? I'm babbling now but it's a nice story and it shows what a kind and loving and generous person she was.
When Justin and I started talking about marriage, I told him I didn't need a fancy engagement ring. He was a soldier in the Army; I was a lowly curatorial assistant. I rationalized that it would be more practical to spend that money on furniture or bills or simply save it. Justin asked me if I was sure. I told him I was sure.
But...I'm a bit of a girly girl and engagement rings are rather pretty and it would have been nice if... Well, my practical side won out anyway.
When Justin told Aimee about our plans though, she told him she had an idea. Aimee had a diamond ring, one that meant a great deal to her. And she offered to give the diamond to her brother so, in turn, he could give it to me.
I had only met Aimee once at that point. Yet, here she was, offering up such a lovely gift. I was incredibly touched but, as I got to know Aimee more, I came to see that this was how she always was. Ready to give. Ready to smile. Ready to love.
I've worn my engagement ring every day for the past five years. It's pretty, it's lovely, just as Aimee was. And, now, every time I look at it, I think of her too.
Thank you, everyone, for your wonderful and supportive comments, emails, and texts. I can't tell you how grateful I am for your friendship and outreach. I know I haven't been able to respond to everyone individually (I'm workin' on it!) but I just wanted to say how much I appreciate your support. It means the world to me. It really, really does.