Don't cry because it is over; smile because it happened. Dr. Seuss
Today was the anniversary of James' death, and I decided I wanted to something special with my friend Lisa. I wrote about her in the post, Path of Pain. She and I have shared our journey together this last year; both of us had our husbands taken away--in different ways but the grief is the same. Since we understand each other on the level that few know, it made sense to me that we spend this day together.
The day started out raining and it poured buckets all day but we went ahead with our plans. We went to the Dollar Store and bought balloons; we looked like we were headed for a party as we left the store. Maybe we were. We went to Lisa's house and wrote all over those balloons, pouring out hearts. Lisa picked out a Dora Explorer balloon with a picture of Dora running free because she wanted us to be that way. Lisa choose a red heart for her friend she recently lost from cancer. We wrote our private thoughts to our husbands on the pink hearts. On the star shaped balloons we wrote negative things from the past on one side--such as pain, grief, depression-- and positive things for the future on the other--like love, joy, peace. One thing I noticed my handwriting on the "bad" side was wild and messy, (see photo) but lovely on the other--I didn't do it on purpose. We read what we wrote to each other as we cried.
It was still raining when we left the house. My original plan had been to release the balloons on the hill above town, but I was also counting on sunny day. We decided instead to go to Lake Roosevelt (Columbia River) 20 miles away. I was concerned about the balloons lifting off in the rain and asked God to give us a few minutes of no rain. He heard. After we turned off the road into the campground the rain let up; it was not falling at all by the time we got to the lake. This still gives me goosebumps. If folks around here wonder why the rain stopped about 4:15--that is why.
With both of us holding onto the ribbon, we released Dora the Explorer first and she sailed into the air and over the trees and the wind took her out of sight, with us cheering her on. Lisa let go of the gold star, and I let James go next, telling him goodbye; he chased after Dora; I still have the picture in my mind of a pink heart rising above the trees and catching the current. Lisa released the red heart for her friend and it went into the trees and got stuck. I let my last balloon go and made it over the trees even though it was getting soft on account I got it caught in the car door--besides it had a lot of heavy stuff written on it. Last to go was the other pink heart which got caught in the trees. Lisa said her husband didn't want to go. She she was able to pull it out of the tree and let it go again, but it still didn't want to go, so she started slapping it, yelling "Go, go, go!!" until finally the wind caught it and it was gone. Then she found a long branch to dislodge the red balloon. We were both laughing by now, and she said her friend was probably laughing her ass off watching her free the balloon.
We had expected this to be a solemn ceremony but instead it was wonderful and lighthearted-- we couldn't be sad at the sight of balloons flying away with all our cares on them. We laughed all the way back to town. An amazing afternoon. God is good.