Last weekend Jon and I packed up the car and prepared Owen for a 4.5 hour road trip to South Bend, Indiana where 3 really awesome things happened:
1. Owen crossed his first state line, something it took me 11 years to accomplish!
2. My Uncle Charlie married his college sweetheart on the St. Mary's at Notre Dame campus. It was my first wedding reception with a real live band! Something I thought only happened in movies!
3. I toured the the campus of The University of Notre Dame with 2 of my siblings and found this Cancer Awareness Tree:
Each color ribbon represented a different type of cancer for anyone's loved ones who have either survived or lost their battle with cancer.
Even the pathway leading to and from the tree was in the shape of a ribbon.
My sister Kimberly and her daughter Elizabeth tied a ribbon for our brother Rick who died of leukemia on June 30, 2010.
There were so many ribbons...
Rick's white ribbon, front and center.
We came across the tree just in time, because as Kim finished tying the ribbon another small group of people walked up to the tree, noted there were no more white ribbons out loud and slumped their shoulders. Kim then looked at them apologetically and said, "I'm sorry. We just took the last white ribbon. It was for our brother."
Then she walked away without looking back.
Something about the way she said it and the way she held herself--shoulders back and head high--assured me that we were all going to make it through this. At that moment I was convinced that one day, in the not so distant future, hearing his name or remembering the sound of his voice isn't going to cause a stabbing pain in our chests but spread a loving warmth from our hearts to our finger tips.