I started this post with no theme and planned to just update everyone on how I've spent my time, but when I started writing about how I spent last weekend....well, my thoughts took over and pretty soon I had more than a full post.
I spent last weekend in Burnet, TX, which is about an hour northwest of Austin. Brian's Uncle Bruce & Aunt Kay just built a house there on about 4 acres of land. I got to see them, their dog, all 3 three of their daughters (Brian's cousins) and their 2 sons-in-law and one grand-kitty. It was great to be with family and to see everyone. The fun chaos of move-in time can be really fun, as there is no formality and no forced conversation -- everyone is busy, working, communicating, and bonding over shared memories and minor victories like organizing the spice racks. In some ways, it was the perfect environment for catching up with this branch of the Boka family.
I did have a little internal sadness, though, that came with helping Bruce & Kay move in. Brian and I had planned to do some fix-up work to our house and put it on the market this year. In fact, we had picked up a bunch of real estate magazines just a couple days before he died. I kept thinking of how, if life had gone according to plan, I would be unloading boxes in Iowa filled with XXLT clothes, Bears memorabilia, empty wine bottles that hold many memories and serve as kitchen decor, etc. We were supposed to be going through these motions together. It should have been us and our friends and family who groaned about how much crap we had, all the while knowing that just means the shared history is long and the blessings have been great.
As a result, helping Bruce & Kay unpack the trappings of their collective life together -- cookbooks sold to raise money for churches and schools, photo albums, toys their children had played with twenty-five years ago that their grandchildren now enjoy, board games whose worn-cornered boxes reflect the hours of enjoyment and fun shared -- was sometimes a challenge. These things were tangible representations of the life they have built together. I thought about the life Brian and I built together and, more somberly, thought of what we would not share -- children, grandchildren, dogs, a retirement home, brand-new furniture (with the exception of a bedroom set, we still have hand-me-downs and moving sale finds), etc. I haven't had a lot of anger yet (and maybe I won't really go through that), but I did find myself feeling indignant that day.
I know "indignant" sounds a lot like anger, but it is more -- I felt robbed, cheated, and a feeling of injustice at what we would miss out on. I feel it as much, if not more, for Brian than I do for myself. I must admit I feel angry that he doesn't get to keep experiencing things. At least life goes on for me. At least I will (and have) travel to new places, see family again, reunite with old friends and meet ones. For someone who loved life and enjoyed the company of others as much as Brian did to lose that opportunity seems so cruel and tragic. I really haven't thought, "Why me?" as much as I have thought, "Why him?" It just isn't fair.
Right before I left for Texas, as we said good-bye through tears, Kristine said something that has really resonated with me. She said, "Life is good, but it isn't easy." The fact that life isn't fair is part and parcel of it not being easy, but that doesn't mean life isn't good and can't be enjoyed. Life is good, and I'm enjoying it despite how much I miss Brian. Despite some of the difficult feelings I had while helping the Bokas move, I had a good time seeing the family and getting out into the country. I can't let my sadness keep me from enjoying such things. Following this theme, I will write more about some of the fun things I have done in Austin in my next post.