My kids go to school about a mile from where my husband’s plane went down. It’s an excellent school with a fantastic reputation, but for a few moments after Addy got a spot on the waiting list I had reservations about going there simply due to proximity. The airport is a busy one with 2 flight schools and lots of private traffic, so planes are always overhead and always on my mind. Some days I look at the planes flying overhead as a way that Mitch is saying hi and as a reminder that he is looking out for us. Sometimes I look at the planes flying overhead, and I want to run and hide and pretend that his passion didn’t take him from us.

Widowhood is full of mixed emotions. On any given day the same situation can hit me a hundred different ways. I can only explain the emotions as a roller coaster full of highs and lows that leave you breathless and at times screaming at the top of your lungs.

My son is the spitting image of my husband. Looking in his eyes is like seeing my past, present, and future, and holding a piece of a man I loved dearly. I cherish this as a gift even though I have fleeting moments where it feels like a curse. I see him in Matthew’s expressions, in his laugh, in his smile. He is a carbon copy of a wonderful man who lived this life more fully than any other person I have ever met. The pain of missing their father is nothing compared to the pain of knowing they will never understand first hand his laugh, his giant bear hugs, or his amazing heart. Call it nature or nurture….they both resemble their father in ways I can not even start to put into words.

I take these painful moments, and I try to allow myself to feel the pain. It can be difficult to know that for the remainder of my life I will live with these emotions and nothing can be done to lighten the load or prepare me for the next big drop. From the top of the ride I can see farther than I was able to see before, and from the bottom, I can feel depths of love I never knew existed. The drop in between often leave me nauseous and breathless but grateful to be alive and ready to move forward yet another day.

Widowhood is full of mixed emotions, and while it’s a ride that nobody on this earth would choose to get on, it’s my ride, it continues to shape who I am, and since I can’t change the past, I’m going to make my ride one worth remembering. So while today the planes overhead symbolized sadness, tomorrow I just may see a message of love from above and a continued gift in my brown eyed boy.