...when my husband leaves for some reason; to drive his mom home after a Sunday dinner or to run to the gas station down the street to buy late night snacks...
I watch from our family room window as his truck drives down the driveway and I think...
...could this be the last time I see him?
I try not to let the thought overcome me but the fear settles in my stomach and it tenses. I feel it crawl up my back and seize my shoulders with a tight grip.
I take deep breaths. And I get through the moment. I distract myself somehow. I cling.
And when I least expect it, I hear the garage door open and that sound...it causes some kind of chemical reaction in my brain that floods me with gratitude. He's home. I know that every time I see him could be the last time.
I kiss him deeply when he enters the house.
This is what losing someone teaches you if you embrace the lesson. It teaches you to cherish every single moment, to stop living so fast.
Some might call this a curse, to live in that place where you're constantly reminded that something bad could happen.
I wouldn't call it a curse. I would call it a blessing, a wisdom. It's a knowledge that reminds me to savor every single minute with all of the people I love, to never take anything for granted and to be grateful for every breath that flows through my body.
I think that this way, when that moment does come...and it will, perhaps not today or tomorrow or years from now but it will happen. It's the only guarantee that life gives us.
In that moment...
...I will remember how many times I heard the sound of that garage door and still feel grateful. I will know that he can only be taken away from me once but that we had a lifetime of open garage doors.