(Ignore the fact that this is a picture from my wedding—it’s the most recent family photo I could find.)
Today would have been my parents’ 30th wedding anniversary, and I’d be lying if I said it feels like just another day. It’s another reminder that in the past three years, my entire family has changed.
I remember when my mom called and said she had something to talk to me about, but I was on my way to get an oil change, and she wanted me to call her when I got home. It had to be something big—I thought someone had died. So I drove to Precision Tune, praying for all of my family members, sure that my grandpa or maybe my aunt had passed away. I sat and sat and sat while they worked on my car, and then I collected my keys and drove home, completely preoccupied.
It wasn’t until I got home that I realized I had left the rest of my keys—including the one to my apartment—sitting in the chair at Precision Tune. Distracted, I backed out of my parking space—nearly taking out a biker (“Sorry! I’m so sorry!”)—and went back for my keys.
These details aren’t really important. But I remember the day just like I remember September 11—it’s one of those Red Letter days, one of those life-altering days, one of those days everyone remembers and asks, “Where were you when . . . ?”
I was getting an oil change the day I found out my parents were separating (they divorced a year later).
Then we went to church so Jonathan could participate in a dodgeball game against the youth group. And I sat against the wall in the gym, completely oblivious. I was in shock. I was angry. I was hurt. I couldn’t believe it. My mom had decided she was going to leave my dad.
Yet life continued on around me.
That night I dreamt my whole family watched as my mom got chased by a monster. She could have outrun it. But she didn’t fight back, and it ate her.
And there was nothing I could do about it.