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Was thinking this weekend that October is the one-year anniversary of Chad’s death. So hard to comprehend how much as changed – I remember Mama talking about how she couldn’t even imagine what his parents were (are probably still are) going through. This feels like a different world to me… amazing how we didn’t even know that Chad’s death was the beginning of the end of the world as we knew it.

Fall is my favorite season – the leaves, the air, the smells, and now, the memories. Our family’s fall picnic, driving up through the mountains and looking at the leaves (Mama made good and sure we never missed a pretty tree), the smell of wood smoke, the oppressive heat lifting so we could pull out our sweaters, and going farther back – the fall festival up at Townville Elem with the box maze, the Halloween party (although we never called it that because Halloween is Satan’s holiday) at Paul & Patricia Pounders – the smell of hay, the hayride where all the boys hid in the ditch and tried to scare the snot of the girls, playing the “airplane game” with all the newbies, all the romantic interludes and teenage drama that happened in the dark corners behind the shrubs & in the cow pasture…. And back to recent years, Thanksgiving – funny, I really have no clear recollections of Thanksgiving until just a few years ago when we started making it our family’s tradition. The china, the centerpieces, making nametags for everyone, trying to coerce Grandpa & Grandma into coming, borrowing Mama’s linens, and learning how to fold napkins off MarthaStewart.com.

I tell myself, and I sometimes even believe myself, that I should be thankful that I have these memories. That just our memories are more than the actual experiences that some people, most people, ever have. But how can that be enough? I never really realized the meaning of that trite saying:

It’s better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.

Do ya’ll believe that? Is it really better to have it and lose it? Or to just not have it? The people who have never had it don’t know what it’s like to have their hearts ripped out – to know that life will never be as good as it once was. The past will always outshine the future… is that really better? But I wouldn’t trade our mama for anything….

I don’t know why I’m even having this thought… it’s not like it matters, or that my opinion’s going to change anything.

So moving on… I’m annoyed that I have to change clothes to have lunch today, but I don’t want my forbidden khakis to stand between me and lunch with ya’ll. So I’m sucking it up and changing clothes. Don’t ya’ll love the very weird and abnormal drama of our family? You know you do 

And I just got struck by the urge again to name our unconceived child… I don’t think I even really want a baby, I just want to name one.

Sarah Jane Rettew, and call her either Sarah Jane, or Jane.

But if we had a boy, I would want to name him Jack. And Jack and Jane sound ridiculous together. So I don’t know… I also really like George – even though Uncle George is kind of a slacker, Bobby had an Uncle George who was apparently an amazing guy, who was killed in his early 30’s. But George and Jane sound stupid together too.

The girl names in our family:

Boy names: