The Eyes Have It

When we dated, I knew I loved his eyes. I quickly realized they were identical to mine. Mine, my own eye color that had once led me to believe I had been adopted. The only Kight without sea blue eyes and the only person I knew with hazel.
When he coached his very first team as a dad, a soccer team no doubt, we realized what came to be a very comical thing about those eyes. After a long season of youtube tutorials and online soccer drill ideas, the football/baseball star was the Pirates biggest fan and best leader. He had never played the sport that would become his oldest son’s passion and reason for getting up every morning. The end of season party is one that we still talk about today. Shane leaned over to ask a little boy if he would like some ketchup on that victory hotdog he was about to consume and the sweet thing looked over his shoulder to see just exactly who coach was talking to. Shane had a lazy eye.
After glasses with prisms so thick that you would have thought he was blind had been added to his weak prescription and many test run to see if his diabetes was causing permanent retinal damage, it all came down to a tired muscle at his back of his eye. He became quite attached to his glasses. Never forgetting them for work meetings and always wearing shades when coaching.
He became quite accustomed to the jokes that followed. Most of the time, he made fun of himself. My brother liked to remind him that there is ‘no lazy eye in team’. He would often make fun of the fact that he had been talking to someone and they didn’t respond, saying, ‘They didn’t know who the hell I was talking to.’ Our life was full of laughter and I know my kids learned that it is ok to laugh at your own shortcomings, but to love yourself all the same.
It was just two weeks after his passing that we got a letter from Life Share stating that not just one, but two people had regained their sight with the help of Shane’s corneas. I will never forget sitting in my driveway going through the mail and reading this. The boys had already gone in the house and I sat in my car, having hardly cracked a smile in weeks, and laughed until I cried. I then cried because I had laughed. The kind of emotional roller coaster that was best portrayed by the cast of Steel Magnolias post funeral (another reason I knew I was supposed to marry Shane…his favorite movie). I was so overwhelmed with the fact that this had brought me nothing but joy that I had instant guilt, then realized that I would never see that green-eyed smile again in this lifetime, then started laughing all over again because of the irony of the eyes.
I calmed myself down and went into the house. I sat the boys down to straightfaced read them the letter. As I calmly, carefully pronounced each word, I glanced up to see them fighting off the smiles. I kept reading and heard snickers from Wyatt and as I finished reading I saw Tate glance over at Lane and then they all erupted apologetically. Wyatt cautiously asked if the recipients would have lazy eyes as well. I explained that they would not, and admitted to sharing the same reaction in the car. I assured them that I knew we were indeed making their daddy so proud by our lighthearted approach to the news.
I have just today had the pleasure of hugging a daddy’s neck who just lost his daughter. She has saved 5 lives so far through organ and tissue donations. While he cried, he told us just how excruciating this process has been and the varied emotions he has felt as the doctors planned and pieced his daughter’s blessings to those who will continue to live because of her. He spoke of the private jet and limo rides for the families. He spoke of the babies, teenagers, and children who will no longer suffer because of her and how he had no doubt that they were getting the best and the strongest that this world has to offer. He was running right toward the roar today, as Levi Lusko speaks about in his book, ‘Through the Eyes of a Lion’. Cueing the Eagle just like in Isaiah 40:31.
Through his inspiration, I was reminded that those hazel green eyes that I miss are right here with me. Three sets of them. Each of my boys sharing the same shade as their daddy and I. I am reminded that two people were gifted the view of life through his eyes. May they see things a little sassier than they ever dreamed they would, a little more vibrant, a little more loving, and a lot more focused.

Dear Lady at Walmart,

I’m not sure I would consider you a friend. I may have shared a sideline with you once in a blue moon…on one team…6 years ago…when they didn’t even keep score. Not that I am so competitive a person that the score matters, it’s just a timeline reminder that you and I both have probably come a LONG way since.
If we talked on a daily basis, I may not have thought your line of questioning was rude. I may not have made a beeline to the other side of the giant store to avoid you or anyone remotely close to your demeanor. I may not have contemplated leaving my basket full of items and running for the hills. I was forced to stick it out with my sweet Wyatt and meander through the garden center…sweating and crying. My first trip to the store ‘since’ was becoming a joke…a bust.
You see, my amazing, handsome, strong, loving, hilarious husband left this world April 27, 2015. He was not supposed to go so soon. My boys and I were not ready for him to leave. We have a lot of plans to fulfill…a lot.
Oh, so you say you ‘heard that we HAD to move?’ Well, no. We didn’t have to move. We chose to move from our 6 acres that we had just purchased not even 2 years prior. Many people and experts say not to make such changes so suddenly, but when you watch your dear boys not be able to go into the room where daddy fell down and couldn’t wake back up you tend to consider it. When you have sat up on the couch one too many nights in a row just hoping that their brains are resting and not reliving the Monday over and over. I actually knew we could make it there, but honestly wanted a more manageable existence. We all 4 went and sat in my bedroom floor, right where it happened and prayed. We thanked Jesus for taking good care of daddy now. We prayed that our decision to sell was not about being scared, but about being smart. The first time that a volunteer didn’t make their assigned mowing date and the grass was a little harrier than Shane or I would have liked it, I jumped on the tractor between school and practices and tried to knock out as much as I could. It was an emotional ride. Something that used to be my ‘summer job’ as Shane would jokingly say. Me and my headphones and my Colbie Caillat Pandora station would have normally been a joy, was a chore. A teary, miserable reminder that he was gone and certainly not going to be sweeping in behind me with the weed eater to do the part of my summer job that I hated, all the while he would be teasing me from the ditch that I wasn’t going to be on the American Idol tour any time soon. No, we didn’t HAVE to move.
You asked ‘So where did you HAVE to go?’ Well, since you asked like that I will tell you that not all widows are destitute, dumb, mindless, sewer dwellers who no longer seek what is best for their children. We didn’t settle for a one bedroom apartment so that I didn’t have to mow. We searched and found the greatest house that not only the boys would be proud of, but Shane would have totally lived here. He would not have loved the closeness of the neighbors, the 4th of July bicycle parade would have cracked him up, but I am CERTAIN he loves it for us! He has always been a tad bossy and such a leader. I have said more than once and completely believe that he is putting his two sense in to the man upstairs. Our home where we fully intended to host our grandchildren’s summer camps sold in just 3 days. Multiple full price offers. Done. Sold. It had stayed on the market almost 2 years when we purchased it. Thank you, Jesus, for taking care of my sweet family. May the owners of that property enjoy the pond, the newly built barn where our middle son was going to raise baby lambs with my husband’s help, where our oldest played on his own full-sized soccer field, and where our youngest learned a between the legs dribble on his own NBA court. When we prayed in our bedroom floor, my oldest asked that the new owners would know the love that was there. I will probably never remember that without crying. That is exactly what I want them to remember about that home. So, where did we have to go. Again, we didn’t have to, but we chose to go somewhere manageable and safe. Somewhere that new memories could be made and the yard could get mowed. Co-dependent living is not something my husband would be proud of for us. He would be proud that I have accepted the help that I have, but I can mow my own yard. He would bear hug all of his buddies who have supported us and helped us move.
‘So, like WHAT happened to him?’ you so rudely continue to ask these pointed questions while cornering me on the chip aisle. We suspect he had a heart attack. ‘What? You don’t KNOW?’ No, we don’t. He was 41. He was diabetic. He chewed tobacco. He didn’t always eat right. He exercised somewhat irregularly. He worked is tail end off for his family. He was probably too stressed. He coached a sport every season. He may not have had enough down time. He loved without ceasing. He made crude jokes. He popped me with towels in the kitchen. He teased his boys about girls and zits. He was a musician. He probably didn’t get to play enough. He was the master of math homework. He drank beer on occasion. We traditionally both drank one when we grilled burgers on the back patio. He liked to play golf. He liked to watch college football, college softball, well…basically any sport. He loved his job. He was ornery. He was loved by everyone he met…even if he kept them guessing. He loved to go hunting with his work buddies. He loved a good surprise, even though he would tell you he didn’t. He gave the best hugs. He loved me more than I have ever been loved. He always knew what to say to the boys. He was a born coach and encourager for kids. He loved his momma. He loved his daddy. His grandpa was his hero. He could roll with the punches. I could do this all day, but I didn’t do this on the chip aisle. I had reached my limit with her in 3 questions. She wanted more, but I walked away. I hope she got the hint, but I am guessing not.
I have always been ‘too nice’. My husband handled all buffering of uncomfortable situations. He could shut down a bugger in one word, one look, one movement. He hated going to the store with me since I had lived and taught in this town my whole life. It was too much. I have learned a lot about myself in the last 11 weeks. I am stronger that I thought I was and with divine intervention all around us, we will make it. My boys and I will keep moving forward, riding the waves of grief one day at a time. We will honor our memories and pray that new ones will become sweet again. We are not there yet. All of the sweet memories include dad. Right now, it feels like we are just moving through the daily motions. Staying busy and relying on family and friends to remind us that we are making it. We will continue to make it and continue to strive to honor God in all things. I will just avoid the chip aisle at all cost.