I’m currently in North Carolina with no internet connection, and I’m sitting in a parking lot and borrowing internet from a coffee shop just so I can quickly update you on where I’ve been, why I’ve been gone, and why I’m not answering emails right away.
It’s crazy to think that these photos were taken on our trip back from Florida, mere weeks ago. We went down to help Bobby’s mom prepare for her move to North Carolina. Linda kissed me on the cheek when we said goodbye, and I told her we would see her in less than a few weeks, when we would be driving down to North Carolina to see her. Just days before our intended arrival, she passed away. That was just about a week ago.
It wasn’t unexpected, though it was sooner than we anticipated – and there’s nothing in the world that can prepare you for the loss of a loved one. Nothing. As I’m surrounded by Bobby, his brother, and their extended family – at times, I feel as though I don’t have a right to be as affected as I am (and this is entirely self imposed, as their family is the most welcoming, loving family you could ever imagine). But Linda was truly special to me, and entirely one of a kind. She treated me like a daughter before Bobby and I were even a couple – even as his best friend, I was embraced as one of the family. And when my family or even my friends came around, they were immediately treated like family, too. Even when Bobby wasn’t around, I’d swing by the house on a drive home or stay the night and catch up with Linda and Bob, the dogs and the horses. She would always write me little notes and leave them on my windshield or under the door, with a beautiful sketch of a horse or a unicorn. Always.
It’s been a tough year. We’ve seemingly been grieving the loss of our loved ones more often than not. But being together with the family has been a wonderful, healing experience for everyone – and I’m more grateful than ever that Bobby and I have each other, and that we have our siblings to lean on, too.