When we were building our house, Matt and I made a million trips to Home Depot. While we were there picking out things like PVC pipes, 2 x 4's, power saws, nails and light fixtures, we also got ideas from looking at their displays of kitchens, tiles and carpeting... Home Depot was filled with promise and of things to look forward to putting into our new home. It was so much fun dreaming of what the finished product of our home would be like while looking around the store.
When Matt's brother Chris was out to do the plumbing in my new house a couple weeks ago, we also made several trips to Home Depot. While we were there, memories I hadn't thought about in years came flooding back, complete with vivid images in my head of Matt perusing the isles knowing exactly what he was looking for, and me following behind him totally lost but ready to help if needed. As I watched his every move (when I wasn't drooling over cabinets and flooring), I admired his confidence at what he was doing, and sometimes simply admired him from behind... I would get a kick out of him as we were in the isle with the power tools - his pace would slow considerably as he would gently stroke one of the power tools he dreamed of owning with a look of longing on his face. I could just see the wheels turning, and I know he was imagining all the things he could fix and create with a new tool.
One of the purchases Chris and I made was so large that I decided to go ahead and sign up for the Home Depot charge card so I could save $50 on the purchase. It took forever for the transaction to go through, but I didn't mind. As I was waiting, Chris loaded the truck and I watched the door, imagining Matt walking through it. It was easy - I'd seen it a million times, and I imagined it over and over. It was great. I didn't mind the wait at all.
When Matt's brother Greg was out to put the access door in, we also made a few trips to Home Depot. More memories flooded back. But the real pain came from seeing a man with his son at the store. He was pointing out to his approximately seven year old son the differences between a 2 x 4 and a 2 x 6, etc., and his son was listening intently. I could only imagine that being Matt and Jacob.
I don't cry easy, believe it or not (which is probably a good thing since I would have permanently puffy eyes). I prefer to save my moments for after the kids go to bed and I'm alone, and even then I can't always just let it go. But I had a hard time holding it in, standing in the wood isle of Home Depot. Matt had so much to teach Jacob, and Jacob would have loved every second of it. Hell - he did love every second of it when Matt was here, even though he was only four at his oldest with his daddy around. His mind works the same way as Matt's. Matt would have been so proud of how Jacob picked up on the things he taught him, and Jacob would be challenged in ways that he needs and wants to be. In ways that I can't do for him as well as his dad could.
It hurts me more than anything to know what Jacob and Sydney are missing out on by not having their daddy around. Their dad who was totally involved and present in their lives, and who enjoyed every moment he could soak up with his children. They were his pride and joy, and it filled my heart with gratitude and love to watch him with them. I guess the only saving grace is that they won't really know what they're missing out on - not to the extent they would have had Matt died when they were older.