It's been nearly two years now since the day that changed our big extended family forever.
I remember it all so vividly...And for me, it all began when my dad was driving me to work (at my first bookstore), and told me that my 19 year old cousin Adam was in the hospital; he'd been in a bad car accident. I remember my immediate reaction being "Oh, Adam, Adam" and shaking my head, thinking of my mischievous cousin who always seemed to be getting into trouble. I don't think we realized just how serious it was at that moment, and I went about my night at work (I even remember who I worked with, and that my aunt Emily brought me a mocha from Sheetz) and that was that.
Then of course, after I got picked up and went home, I learned just how bad it was: that he hadn't woken up, and that there were tests being done...the major kinds of tests that put butterflies, or as I've heard it put, rather, pterodactyls in your stomach. My mom, my two aunts and I all went down to the hospital in Pittsburgh where we sat in an eerily quiet waiting room, amongst other friends and family members of Adam's, all joined together in silence, just waiting. I remember we took my other two cousins, Adam's sisters, Stephanie and Becky out to get something quick to eat, and just to have a few moments of air.
By the time we got back, the tests hadn't been completed and we resumed our waiting until the later hours of the night, and eventually, us four girls made our way home. I remember praying and praying, pleading with God, "God, please let him be all right, please fix him up, and heal his body."
When I was little, Adam was just another big brother to me. We'd bury each other in the sand, play hide-and-seek, watch movies on rainy days. When I think back to being a little girl, it's him
and my older brother Tyler who pop into my mind as my friends and playmates. Adam and I would always make fun of each other; with a few moments of physical abuse here and there (memories of getting slammed into lockers at school come to mind). The other day while I was watching Gilmore Girls, and Chris called Lorelai "Lore", I couldn't help but wonder, "Why do so few people call me Laur? I like it!" and then I remembered that Adam always called me "Laur". In fact, when I think of him, and think of his voice, it's always been automatically (in these past two years) of him calling me "Laur". And of course, his somewhat *cough* obnoxious laugh ;)
On the next morning after our visit to the hospital, my mom came in very early, all dressed and smelling of perfume and said that she and my dad were going to drive down to the hospital, because Adam wasn't going to make it. I remember crying and hugging her, and saying "I prayed so hard, Mom, that he would be okay."
The rest of the morning was spent with me dozing on the couch, watching TV with my little brother and sister, and my heart stopping each and every time the phone rang. Alas, in the early afternoon, I got the phone call, and I remember trying to stay calm and chill, since I didn't want to have to be the one giving the news to my little brother and sister.
When my parents got home, I couldn't help but break down a bit, and my little siblings didn't understand. They kept on asking why I was crying, why my Aunt Deb would be crying...and I remember thinking what a blessing it is to be a child, and to see only that Adam was up in Heaven with Jesus now.
The following week was one that I believe will remain etched in my memory for quite some time: little moments here and there filled with sorrow, others with laughter, others with remembrance of childhood. It was a week surrounded with pictures of a blonde (or bronde) curly-haired young man with a great big smile that reached his expressive brown eyes; it was a week of discussing memories on occasion: such as how the Easter before, Adam had found all of his Easter eggs (we have a family egg hunt), took the candy out, and then rehid the eggs! Typical, typical ;)
It was amazing to see just how many lives my cousin touched, and just how many people were affected by his life. And it's still amazing to see the lives he's touching today.
My Aunt Deb and Uncle Dennis chose to donate Adam's organs, and as says a newscast from today, Adam "still has a big heart, except it now beats for someone else: a 26 year old wife and mother who was the recipient." Isn't that simply amazing?? My Uncle Dennis says that he hopes to meet this woman some day, and that she allows him to use a stethoscope and listen to Adam's heart; that that would be fantastic...I think it would be such a beautiful thing.
I remember on the 4th of July, just a few days after he passed away, as I sat and watched the fireworks with my family, I found myself thinking "Adam's never gonna get to see fireworks again...", but that thought was immediately replaced with a grin when I thought of what my cousin was seeing on that day, and has seen every day since. You see, my big brother knew the Truth...and is walking with Him now on streets paved with gold. And I know we'll see him again someday. We'll be walking those streets with him!
So here's to my big brother: The one with the vibrant smile and the cocky attitude ;) The one who told us to "live life with no regrets". The one who did the most random things ;) His are footprints on our hearts that we won't soon forget!
He's made his way to Aslan's country... :)