Standing in line, Allyson and I waited for her turn to walk down the track in front of the stands. It’s senior night and she is being recognized for her participation in cross country. The announcer read each child’s information as they walked along, arm in arm with each parent. Favorite memory, future plans, and the student’s parents were noted over the loudspeaker…the parents.
While we waited, the memories came flooding back. I looked across the line of adults that we had sat with over the years on soccer sidelines, in cheer bleachers, and along cross country trails. Jana and I were proud parents… Proud of both of our girls. But, now, I stand here with Allyson…alone. Her mother is not here to enjoy this moment, this culmination of all the years of practices and events.
It’s our turn. Allyson shifts the rose she was given to her left hand, links her arm in mine, and we follow the painted lines of the track. It’s a slow walk. I am so happy to be there with my daughter. I’m trying to hold together these moments that she has looked forward to for years. I have video of Allyson earlier in high school running along this very stretch of track with Jana being heard, in the background, rooting her on. Now, those encouraging words, hollered from the stands years ago, are just distant echoes in my mind.
The ceremony ended, Allyson handed me her things and joined her friends for the game that followed. I headed out towards my truck in the rain soaked gravel parking lot. As I walked, the weight of loss began to exert it’s pressure on my heart. The tears started to fall as I hurried towards my vehicle.
Tonight was for Allyson, but it was also for us. We were supposed to walk with her, smiling and proud. There are times when I just can’t carry the importance of “mom and dad” alone. I fall short. I do my best, but mom is not here and it’s an incredibly painful realization sometimes.
I have no good answer for this pain…other than feel it. Walk through it, share it, write about it, yell it, cry it, think on it, and face it. There will be more. I know that I am not alone. I know others have felt the same stinging realizations. I know others stand with me. And, I know my Father in Heaven sees my tears, even when nobody else may be aware.