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The Day Before The Day

Tomorrow is the anniversary.  But today is too.  Today is the Day Before the Day.

Tomorrow is the day he died.  Today is the last day we had together.

We had breakfast together.  We finished our Christmas to-do list.  We flirted like we were in college again.  And then I went away to write for three hours while he cleaned the house and became terribly sick.

It’s a privilege to have such a beautiful ‘last day’ to remember. I can’t seem to celebrate it.  Try as I may.

My subconscious is a wreck.  I slept fitfully last night, waking to watch the clock, knowing death was waiting at 5:00 in the morning.  Such dreams do not offer rest.

I woke this morning on a fierce hunt for joy, to make today festive and bright.  We had donuts.  We played and pretended.  But the calendar mocks me.  I find myself looking at the clock.

“Two years ago right now, we were…” And I remember his smile and his hands and his silly singing voice that echoed Let It Snow.  He was our Christmas magic.

Robb’s college roommate is flying in today to join us for this weekend.  He is one who knew him best, one who misses him most.  So we’ll spend the weekend together, all four of us, sewing our memories together like a patchwork quilt.

I have gifts to give each of the boys, unrelated to Christmas.  I made each of them memory book.  They are titled, Tucker and Daddy and Tyler and Daddy.  With digital finesse, they are chock full of pictures of the boys with Robb.

Each picture tells a story, breathes life, and reminds the boys:

You had him.  He was here.  I promise.

And, oh, my great day, he loved you.

Tricia Lott Williford

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  1. Really.

  2. Tricia, Tomorrow, Dec 26th is the 3rd anniversary of the day we found out my husband would not live. We left our family Christmas party to go to the emergency room and spent the next 10 days in the hospital. The following Christmas we were alone on a cancer ward in another state and I watched my first grandchild open his presents from Oma on skype. 10 weeks later he was gone.The following Christmas I was a widow and my grown children were off with their in laws. This year my body memory is struggling to be happy. To find joy in this season. I have many wonderful things happening in my life. Recently engaged to a long time friend. The beginning of a new life but oh, I still grieve the old one hard sometimes. We had OUR ways of doing things and now I must find new ways with someone I will make a new life with. The panic attacks have ramped up and I struggle and I think everyone thinks all is well because I am happy and getting married again. This grief stuff is tricky business and it just sneaks up on you at the most unexpected times. I think of you so often and so appreciate your sharing about your panic and the randomness of so much of this. You are not alone. I am here, in Portland Oregon, cheering you on. I read you every day and if you are ever this way maybe my young widow friend and I could meet you at Starbucks.
    Have a blessed Christmas.

  3. I cry with you as you remember the day before the day. I am praying for you and the boys.

  4. Today is the day before the day for us as well. We lost our 4 month old son on Dec. 23, 2009 – like Robb he was born on August 27. Crazy the similarities.. my sister connected me to you blog and I read all your posts. I silently laugh and cry with you – our journies so similar. I spent today as I have the past 3 years.. remembering with eerie clarity the last day I had with my baby, Alessandro. Today I cried… hard for my loss, for my families loss, for the worlds loss of this beautiful sole.

  5. You are all in my prayers often and even more so these days.

  6. Tricia, Tuck, and Tyler~My thoughts & prayers are with all three of you.

  7. Praying for you and the boys now. Shalom.

  8. Tricia that’s the best gift you could give them! They will cherish it! A girl I knew, her Mom did the same thing for her.

  9. I am sorry. My father died 31 years ago tomorrow. It had been difficult every year. I miss him. God bless you all.

  10. Tricia… I feel as if you’re an dear, old friend. I eagerly await your posts.. They are always insightful, inspiring, along with that they touch my heart so deeply and remind me to cherish the moment and take note of what’s going on around me. I pray for you and your boys almost daily and will be sure to keep you all in my prayers this weekend especially.

  11. Your sweet family is in my thoughts and prayers this week.

  12. What a special note with such a tribute to your guy. None of us who know and love you will ever forget December 23, 2010. I was in the manicure chair when Janet called. My heart sunk and my mani/pedi was no longer fun. I wiped tears and ached for you, Tuck and Ty. Robb would be so proud of the ‘Mom’ you are. I read your words everyday ~ sometimes sad but always beautiful. Hugs to your family. Remembering with you. In my memories, Robb is always wearing a big smile.

  13. “He was our Christmas magic.”

    Tricia, I promise you, he has added magic to my life, and to the lives of all of your readers. You have written his story well. I feel like I know him. I grieve for you and I miss Robb – he’s the same age as my eldest daughter – and I am sad for the boys. But I rejoice in so many things. Your boys are mini-Robbs in so many ways, and you share that with us. You had a good marriage and you have many happy memories to cherish. You have hope that is solid and sure that some day you will be reunited with him.

    December 23 isn’t all bad. My grandfather Pops (Frederick Peddle) was born on that day. My niece was born many years later on the same day. Some day I hope you will see more of the joy and less of the sorrow of that day. Perhaps it will take till you are in heaven, but I believe that it was a day of awe and glory for Robb. Some day, you’ll really know that in your bones.

    Until then, hang in there.

    Celebrate any little way you can. But grieve just as much as you need to.


  14. Tricia-

    Tomorrow is my son’s ninth birthday. On his first birthday, Doug and I attended the funeral of John Connor, who was on this earth for two days. On his seventh birthday, Robb died. I don’t know why such sadness surrounds this time of year, but I PROMISE you that, knowing that people I love are sad, are missing someone, motivates me EVEN MORE to make sure I stop to celebrate my son’s birthday, no matter that it’s two days before the biggest birthday of them all and that we’re all running around doing so much that means so little. Tomorrow I will focus on my little boy and on his beautiful life, and how lucky I am to have him with me, to spend another day with him. I’ll do it well, to honor John Connor and Robb. I promise.

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