Tonight we will be having a new family portrait made for our church directory. Ugh. This is not a task I am looking forward to. As a matter of fact, I think we would skip it entirely, if it were not for the repeated reminders from the church in the form of bulletin reminders, emails, and recorded phone messages that "time is running out" if we want to be included in the directory. We've put it off until almost the final day of the final week. It's not that we don't want our family represented in the church directory...we do...it's just the thought of having a family portrait taken without Hannah.
The three of us have had our picture taken together lots of times since Hannah's been in Heaven...just casual photographs spontaneously taken here and there. But this is different. It's a "portrait", not just a picture, and we've got to decide what we're going to wear, drive to the church, wait in straight-backed chairs for our family's turn, do multiple poses for a photographer, and then probably listen to a sales pitch. Just the three of us.
Hannah had some very OCD tendencies sometimes...and one of them was that she hated odd numbers. When she adjusted the volume on the car radio, she always set it at an even number. One time I asked her why it even mattered, since the volume number display disappeared a few seconds after it was adjusted, and it couldn't even be seen anymore. She laughed and said, "I don't know...It just matters to me." She was always a good sport about her obsessive-compulsiveness, and often laughed at herself. And even now, when I adjust the volume on the radio...yes, I always put it at an even number and smile to myself.
So tonight, it will feel strange when our odd-numbered family smiles for the photographer. It will feel so incomplete, somehow. But...thank God...even as we face this glaring reminder of Hannah's absence in our family's life, we know that it is just a matter of time until our family is reunited. We are still "The Sullivan Four"...we're just separated for a little while.