Every day in the record of my life since October 27th, 2012 has an asterisk next to it.  There is not a evening  that passes where I do not think about what that day would have been like if Rees were a part of it.  I constantly find myself qualifying each day as “this is as good as it can be, considering my little boy is no longer here”.   This asterisk follows me constantly.  I can no more outrun, or hide from it anymore than one can hide from their shadow on a sunny day.  I see the asterisk in my wife’s eyes when she smiles.  I see the asterisk is my Daughters’  eyes when they act out in frustration.  The asterisk punctuates every major milestone we celebrate and accentuates the most trying of times.  I loved my life before it became my life*.

I wish removing the asterisk to my life was a simple as it is typing it here and then simply hitting delete.  If only I could hit the delete button and remove that asterisk on my life*.  Unfortunately, I cannot.  In life (or life*) there is no editor, no whiteout to correct the mistakes in the narrative.  Life perpetually moves forward, with the past firmly cemented in place, impossible to revise.  The past cannot be changed, but the future is a different story all together…

The future represents everything the past is not:  Uncertain, ever in flux and completely open to any narrative we wish to apply, yet always beholden to its genesis .  The very nature of the relationship between the past and future gives it an interesting dichotomy:  while always yielding to the past, it never ends and promises something new – in perpetuity, so long as we allow it to.  The future is ours for the taking, and we have the power to shape it.  The events of the past have made my life* what it is now, but the future is mine to create.  I realize that asterisk will always be there, but I prefer to see that asterisk for what it is… the past.  I cannot erase it and I cannot change it, but I can learn from it to ensure a better future.  I choose to use that asterisk to shape my future in a way that I choose, learning from it, growing from it and becoming a better person from it.   In my past life I lost my little boy.  In the present, and the future, I gained ReesSpecht for life… asterisks and all.

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11 Responses

  1. So beautifully written…makes so much sense for anyone who has suffered a loss. Wish somehow we could take away your pain. Just know because of your beautiful little boy, life is better for others in so many small ways. My husband has been “reesspechted” twice in the local deli. He was so moved and inspired to do more for others and show random acts of kindness more regularly after these incidents. Thank you…

  2. We will all be thinking of you on this Sunday. Thoughts and prayers with you, Samantha and the girls.

  3. Rich,
    Along with the asterisk, please put three hearts for Sam and the girls. Their love and smiles will help you through this. I know my words sound simple and trite compared to your eloquent, heart felt writing, and I wish there were some way that each of us could take a little bit of the pain off you and your beautiful family. Hold on tightly to those who love you the most, just keep on holding on. Life has a way of giving us little gifts when we’re not even looking for them.

  4. None of our lives will ever be the same. Especially Yours and Samantha’s …. But we will continue to love, trust, and believe that there is a place for us all to belong and flourish 🙂 heal… We need to heal before we can really see past the sadness… Then when that is accomplished I will know you have arrived;)

  5. You have a beautiful soul. and the asterisk is, after all, a little star…so appropriate as a reminder of your precious Rees. God bless you and your family as you journey through life*.

  6. I also think it is therapeutic that you have these musings and writing them down. It will help make sense of daily life in the face of loss. And what you’ve been doing in honor of your little boy is tremendous. Keep it going, one day at a time. You are an inspiration, God bless your family, and for creating REESSpecht.

  7. I know that little * is a constant reminder of your pain and loss, but I pray that one day it will feel more like a ❤ bringing him with you through life.
    My family suffered a loss 18 months ago and I understand that *

  8. I know that things will never be “normal” again, but as someone once said- hoping that the “new normal” becomes a little easier. you are doing wonderful things to honor your son and to help out the community in general. god bless

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