I'm sitting at our kitchen table.
Well, John's kitchen table. Well, me and John's kitchen table.
I am holding a pair of cards and playing poker.
I fold. My hand sucked. But I am laughing.... because I am honestly having a great time.
And all around me are familiar faces.
And bottles of beer.
And lots of smiles and laughs.
something old. something new.
The table is old.
It started out as John's college roommate's table.
It was used mainly for beer pong.
Eventually John bought it for about $30 and it's been with us ever since.
We call it the "Knights of the Square table." Because it's heavy and durable and OLD.
But it has character.
And I can't manage to let it go just yet.
The faces are old and new.
The faces of John's friends mixed with the faces of Ryan's
Mixed with the faces of mine.
We are doing the "impossible" in widow world.
We have combined our worlds.
We are having a poker night with people we love from various stages of our lives. Percussionists that worked with or under John.
Musicians that marched corps with Ryan.
Co-workers from my job. Consequently the co-worker is also the guy that took over my position at Walker when I left after John's death.
And here we all are.
In our house.
In ME AND RYAN'S house.
Playing cards on ME AND JOHN'S TABLE.
These are OUR friends now.
United by John in the end.
We can laugh and tell jokes and have a good time and I think secretly everyone imagines what it would be like if John were there.
His absence is noted.
Not outloud ... but privately and silently in our minds and thoughts.
we all wish he was still here.
And there's something about going over for Easter to the Seays house ....
the house doesn't look different downstairs. all the pictures are still hanging. me and John. John's baby photos. Everyone's prom pictures.
and it's comforting to me.
i also get knots in my stomach just before opening their door because i am afraid one day it will all be torn down and they won't care anymore.
but it's not.
even in his dad's office there are pictures of me everywhere.
i am still loved....
and bringing Ryan over is always such an experience.
we get to do all the things that i would have been doing with John.
except it's ryan.
The boys love Ryan.
they hug his legs and say they love him.
it warms my heart.
and brings a peace to me because it's an acceptance. that even the small minds of John's nephews have accepted Ryan has something permanent. and they like him.
and i like that.
Mixing my old life with John and my new one with Ryan sometimes shocks me with how well it blends. It almost flows so well that I feel like something is WRONG with me. Like there should be a problem. I even ask Ryan sometimes "are you ever angry/hurt/mad/jealous with my feelings for John." And he isn't.
And then I am like... well, is this really how it's supposed to be?
Can my two lives really mesh together this well and everyone be ok?
I mean, there have been a few along the way that haven't transitioned so well. And I may have lost some.
But maybe those were some worth losing at the time.
maybe I will gain them back.
But for now I think the people I have in my life... old and new... are amazing.
And I am very blessed to have them in my journey.
The old to remind me of my wonderful past and share my memories ...
and the new to create amazing new memories with.