This past weekend we had the wonderful blessing of going to Crossett to share God's goodness through Hannah's story. We lived in Crossett for three years, and made some lifelong friends while we were there. We were able to see many of them this past weekend, including Heather Burford, Brady's mom (I referred to him a couple of postings ago, and his CaringBridge site is listed over in the right hand column). It was nice to spend some time visiting with a mom who has traveled the cancer journey with her child, and it was great to hear how well Brady is doing! We also made some new friends, including Alan and Melissa McCone, who I also referred to in a recent posting, and whose blog is also included in the right hand column. Alan will be returning to Houston next week to find out the next step of his treatment plan. And we saw someone that we never expected to see while we were there...Hannah's best friend from kindergarten and first grade...a very sweet girl named Jamie. Jamie and Hannah were inseparable...Jamie is in almost all of our pictures and home videos from that time. She is starting her senior year of high school this year, and has grown up to be a beautiful girl. I couldn't help but cry when I saw her...what a reminder of where Hannah "should" be right now!
Fast forward to last night, which was open house at our school district. Bethany is starting high school this year, and we had fun getting her schedule and going from class to class and visiting with all of her teachers. We are a small district, so every one of her teachers is someone who taught Hannah at some point. It was so strange to be there with Bethany, but not with Hannah. Strange to make the mental jump from thinking about Hannah's kindergarten & first grade years on Sunday to being reminded of what would have been her senior year on Monday. Strange to see students who should be Hannah's classmates this year. Strange to see all the senior posters on the wall, but none for Hannah. But then I can't help but be reminded how blessed we are to have Bethany. I'm so excited for her as she starts her freshman year of high school...she has a lot to look forward to, and plenty to keep her and us busy over the upcoming months.
I feel that, because of our experiences over the past 18 months, we have been given a unique "gift"...and that gift is the awareness of how precious life is, and what it truly means to appreciate every moment we have with our loved ones. I don't think I ever really understood what that meant until Hannah got sick. This is one part of the journey that I can truly say I am thankful for!