Back in Phoenix now, I’m feeling “in-between” two distinct places. I know Phoenix well. Yesterday we drove past a place where Evan took me for lunch just once and it hit me that I’m leaving this place that holds innumerable memories.
After Evan’s first deployment to Afghanistan I was working at St. Thomas the Apostle when, dressed in his army fatigues, he walked into my office gave me one of his bear hugs and said he was taking me for lunch. We went to NYPD pizza. His appreciation of the moment moved both of us to tears. He kept repeating, “You have no idea how good it is to be here eating pizza with you. You just have no idea.” When it came time to pay the bill the waiter informed him that his meal was “on the house”. Back at work I spent the next few hours trying to wrap my head around what had just happened.
This memory stirs up within me all the feelings. Gratitude for Evan’s tender heart so fully aware of pain and pleasure sits alongside regret that I could not protect him from the traumas of war. Mingled in there is anger at those who shattered his innocent idealism and lastly fear that I will, by moving to Houston, allow such treasured memories to irretrievably fade.
I don’t want to abandon the grave where his body is buried, nor close the door on Phoenix memories. I have no memories of Evan in Texas. Yet, I have a certain hope that in Houston much good awaits us.
We’re entrusting the care of his grave to a dear friend whose son’s body lies not too far from his.
I hope I can learn to entrust the Phoenix memories along with the Verde Valley memories and Tucson memories and Guatemala memories to the Heart of Jesus whose love has surrounded us from the moment of Evan’s conception until his final breath and beyond.
I cannot imagine what Houston holds. I need not try. Every one who knew him knows that Evan would be so happy for us to be together. He wanted all those he loved to experience the freedom to excel in whatever our hearts desire.
For now, I choose to be fully embrace the in-between.
when I am afraid,
in you I place my trust.Psalm 56: 3b & 4