It started out innocently enough. Matt's younger brother needed some bigger clothes to wear. (How is it that my 12 year old is wearing the same size clothing his older brother wore at age 16?!?) So I went to the bedroom to look through the tub of Matt's clothes. I lifted the lid and saw a plastic bag. I didn't recall why a bag would be in there, or what it could even have in it, as I knew the tub held only Matt's shirts and pants. I unrolled the bag and saw Matt's shoe. In one glance, I was ambushed by grief, and it threw me down. My heart crumpled.
It was Matt's tennis shoe. The one from the accident. The shoe he was wearing the day he died. I don't have the other one. We think it was left on the Life Flight helicopter. Oh, how the sight of a simple shoe can throw one's world out of whack. I saw red spots and dried mud on the shoe, and my mind immediately went to the accident, to where it shouldn't go. No, I wasn't going to go there. I've fought too hard to survive to get sucked into the futility of that thinking, of imagining the accident. It is not productive, and I refuse to go there.
I quickly wrapped the bag back up and allowed myself a few minutes to cry. That shoe, hated as it is for the reminder it brings of a horrific day, is also a bittersweet reminder of my son, one of the precious few reminders I have of him. I can't throw it out, either, as it is a beautiful keepsake of how big Matt was. He was a solid, manly sixteen year old who wore an 11 1/2 size shoe, and I need that reminder, for I think every bereaved parent fears forgetting. That shoe is a curse and a blessing.
I dried my tears and then continued digging through the clothes. Matt's brother came in and tried some on and was able to find several that fit. As he tried on a pair of pants, he stuck his hands in the pockets, and a look of utter surprise and shock came across his face. He pulled out his hand and, lo and behold, he had found money in one of the pockets. A whole $3.00. The look on his face was priceless.
It was also, unfortunately, short-lived, as he quickly realized he owed me exactly
$3.00. We both laughed, and he handed over the money. I silently thought, "Yeah, Mateo. That's just like you."
That $3.00 was my "God-nod" for the day. It was God telling me it's o.k., reminding me that Matt is alive and well. I think of that $3.00, and I am thankful. I am thankful for the memories and thankful for God's provision. The "missing moments" are tough, but God is greater.