If you’ve read Misty’s blog post about why we are meandering then you know I lost my son a few years ago. This post is about how, in the most painful time of my life, I somehow managed to see my life in a different light.
I figured this was a good day to talk about this too as Garrett would have been 22 today. Happy Birthday and I love you son! You are forever missed but never forgotten!
It was June 21st, 2014. It was our last day in Panama City Beach after spending a wonderful week there with our good friends the Jones’. We had packed up the car and were on our way home. We had literally just left and stopped to top off the gas tank when my phone rang. It was a number that had called me the previous evening but not knowing the number I had ignored it. The zip code said it was from Colorado. Since my son was there living with his mom and this was the second time the number had called I took it. It was the coroners office with the terrible news. Garrett had passed away the previous day in a car accident. He was a passenger in a car and riding in the back seat. Their 2010 Dodge Charger ran a stop sign and broadsided a semi at 55 mph. The accident report indicated they could only tell the make and model of the car from the VIN number. All three passengers in the car passed away instantly. I choked my way through the call but told them they needed to get a hold of his mom who lived there and I gave them the info. I hung up and right then my life changed forever.
For the next 14+ hours I cried. No, I sobbed. I can’t describe the way I felt exactly, but it was pain so deep and so painful that I felt it coming from someplace inside me I had never felt before. I hurt to my core. My heart was broke. My soul felt empty and I couldn’t control the sobbing. Those that don’t know me well might just think this is normal, and it is. However, those that do know me know that I’m not one to easily show my emotions. I can usually easily keep them in check. There was no controlling this and I just let it flow. My poor wife, not knowing exactly what do say or do just rubbed my leg to let me know she was there and let me cry it out. Since we had the drive from Florida to Indiana I had plenty of time to do so.
We got home and over the course of the next few days the arrangements were made and his mom and I decided on what we’d do. It all felt very surreal. It wasn’t until his ashes arrived in the mail that I think it fully sunk in.
We had a celebration of life for Garrett a few weeks later and it was wonderful.
So, what possible good could come from all this you are asking?
Well, as I mentioned above this whole thing changed me. You don’t have a child die without that happening I don’t think. Every single day I think about Garrett and I miss him terribly! However, life goes on and things must get back to your new normal. The problem was that my daily life just seemed routine and unfulfilling. After an epiphany moment and also seeing a map on social media about hitting all 48 states in the shortest route I had an idea. I presented my idea to Misty, we both laughed about it and that was that. Except two or three days later, after Misty had a few bad days at work, the idea took hold and plans started. Meandering Life was created.
We are, as I write this, three weeks into our new life. We quit our jobs. We sold our house and most of our possessions. We bought an RV and are exploring this wonderful country of ours.
So at the lowest point in my life I was able to see a glimmer of light and make some realizations about life and what was truly important. My son had his whole life ahead of him and any of us can be gone in an instant. Stop putting off until tomorrow what you should be doing today! Life is short and tomorrow is no guarantee. Live life now!