My sister in law says there is nothing she would do differently in the days leading up to my brother's death and I think that's amazing. I can't imagine the pain and heartache of losing a husband, a best friend, and the father of my children, and it's comforting to know that she has no regrets. I guess that's the least God could offer her.
I do, however, have regrets, 2 actually:
1) I would have hugged him more, and told him I loved him at least one more time had I known what was coming.
2) I would have taken a picture of him with Owen.
I don't dare compare my grief to that of his family, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't break my heart to know that Owen will never know his Uncle Rick, and the least I could have done was snap a photo to show Owen one day, to assure him that his uncle did know and love him.
Rick did hold Owen, multiple times actually, and he interacted with him even more. He held him for the first time on Easter Sunday. Owen was only 6 weeks old and unlike a lot of people with such small babies, Rick took Owen from my arms with precision and confidence. He didn't have the fear of handling something so fragile which I saw all too often. And once the tiny Owen was securely in his arms, Rick began cooing at him, and said, "So this is my new nephew! Hi there little guy!"
Another time that comes to mind when I think of Rick and Owen was a day at my parent's apartment. It was Memorial Day and Owen was laid back in his bouncer doing some people watching (and there are plenty of people to watch in our family!) when Rick walked by, spotted him and said, "Hey Owen! You're just a happy little guy, aren't you?" then he turned to me and said, "You're lucky, my kids would never sit quietly like that!" It was one of those moments that reminded me just how lucky I was to have a baby as relaxed as Owen, something I didn't let myself see all too often in those early months.
No matter how much I regret not having captured those moments in a photograph, I can't change it. I did, however, take advantage of a moment this weekend to get the next best thing:
Owen smirking with his cousin Vanessa, Rick's daughter, showing just how happy a little guy he is.
Owen and his cousin Zachary, Rick's son, stealing a glance at Great Grandma Greene with a giant Lite Brite cube between them.
What I have to remember is that while Owen will never know his Uncle Rick, he will know him through the memories I have to share, and the time he has with his cousins, because Vanessa and Zachary are proof of just how cool a person Rick was, and how he was one half of a really fantastic parental unit.