This life they built knew heartache from an early age.
Mid-twenties, a stranger in a truck who ran through a stop sign and a wife in a van who passed away. A husband who went to jail to forgive a drunk driver. Three young children to raise. And in a world not too far away, a wife who lost her husband to a medical mystery, moments after his apparent recovery. Two young children to raise.
This life they built met hope, sometime soon after they met face to face. A new marriage, and another child on the way.
They call this a blended family. My cousin and I rarely think of it that way – it’s all we’ve ever known.
This life they built raised six children, on a farm, in rural Ontario. It grasped onto connections between four sets of families, every single year, a level of complexity most of us can’t comprehend and many of us fail to strive for.
This life she built turned purple.
It overflowed with flowers, tables full of food, hand-written letters, carefully crafted blankets, and laughter.
Eventually, it turned turquoise.
This life she built shut the door on fear a long time ago. She rarely reopened it.
She told me to smile with my teeth, taught me how to write the letter e properly. I can still hear her voice – can remember her laughter and sarcasm over ripped jeans.
This life he built will honour her, in everything he does.
Fancy dishes on a Sunday afternoon, because she wouldn’t want paper plates. Let’s fill the dishwasher, he says.
This life they built is extravagant. Full of God and hope, full of family.
This life she built led over 300 people through church doors, in brightly coloured clothing, to a funeral she planned but that came faster than anticipated.
They say she never did things slowly.
In this life they built there’s now a missing piece. A painful heartache in its place. A longing a missing a craving – but beneath it all a promise rested on the same foundation they built their life on – that one day, we’ll all see each other again.