Our life is full.
But there are holes, holes where Samantha would have been.
So we try and fill the holes; trips to Hawaii, ski vacations, weekends away....
Is it enough?
Does it fill where she should be?
The answer this year has been 'no', it is good, it is welcome, but it does not take away the ache, the vacancy of where she should be.
But this weekend, ironically, the one year mark of Samantha's passing, I felt full, grateful, happy and satisfied for the life we had with our girl.
We rode with the Courage Classic, the annual bike ride for the Children's Hospital.
It started on Friday, the day of registration. I waited for my packet and stated my name while still talking on my phone (important business call). The volunteer brought me my packet....
"Number 41!" she cheered
"41!" Exclaimed the volunteers.
I stopped my phone conversation, "What?"
"You were the 41st highest fundraiser last year," she said. "Congratulations"
Inside the bag was a plaque that said "#41", I got tears in my eyes because the only, only reason I was 41 was lill' Miss and her supporters.
The ride went on without issues, we made it up Vail Pass, Battle Mountain, Swan Mountain. We rode with purple and green ribbons in our helmets. We rode with our "Summits for Samantha" jerseys, her smiling face on the back.
When not riding we sat in the hot tub with a glass of wine and ate yummy dinners (we did ride 50 miles a day after all!) ....it was a good weekend.
On Monday, I rose with apprehension and looked at my watch, 6:30....a year ago she was still alive.
At 8:00 we started up Freemont Pass, I was grateful for the clear sky, my pounding heart and a chance to clear my head.
8:00, she was still alive.
I felt a burning in my legs, my lungs and my heart as I continued to ride....looking into the sky for s sign of her.
At Freemont Pass, we stopped for a picture of our team and a man approached me, "I'm looking for Heather," he said.
Ironically, I was standing next to my friend, Heather and still trying to catch my breath.
He looked at me confused. Heather pointed at me, "She's the important one."
I looked at her, "Oh I am not important, you're important too."
The man sighed, "Which one is the important Heather???"
"I guess I am," I said.
"My wife told me to give this to you." And he pulled out a gold box from his riding jersey. Inside the box was a pendant with Samantha's and Jack's name and the birth date on the other side. It was beautiful, heartfelt and perfect.
I started to cry....ugly cry....and hug this poor man who had never met me....stinky long hugs....poor guy...and my team cried and hugged this poor man.
"We know today might be hard," he said.
Thank you poor man who dealt with my stinky, ugly cry. I never got his name.
11:00, we had lost her
My friend Jill did this ride for the first time; after day one and two she said she that it was great but would not do it again.
On day three she said...."I get it. I have been so in my head, so afraid I couldn't do this or keep up with the team but today I saw someone going up Freemont on a hand cycle, and a team on a tandem and told them good job, and they said the same and I thought 'what the f*$# is my problem? This isn't about me. This is about the kids who live everyday just to be here."
I love this ride.
At the finish, I saw 'Grandpa Jim' who volunteered for Team Courage this year. He rode a tandem bike with his 15 year old buddy Abe. Abe has Cerebral Palsy and cannot do this ride alone.
Jim rode with Abe 120 miles this weekend.
As we all crossed the finish line, I thought, we would not be here without her. We would not carry Abe 120 miles, we would not have organized a team to ride 150 miles for Children's Hospital, it would not have meant enough as it does now.
And I felt full....of love, gratitude, and overall yumminess of who she has made us and the community she has brought together.
And that was enough. I felt full.
Thank you Lil' Miss