This is where I spent the last four days. My in-laws house in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Better known as The Wildwoods. I was there in the beginning when they built this wonderful place. It was a long time ago, another life. I was married to Diahn's brother, Brian. He died in 1989 in a motorcycle accident. They are still my family. Diahn, a sister, Carmen and Ray, still my mother-in-law and father-in-law. Their younger daughter, Kristen, still like a little sister.
Everyone pitched in when they were building. Even Jesse, mine and Brian's son, worked the land. He loved this place. Most of his childhood was spent out in the woods and land around the house, collecting sticks, burning brush in his cowboy boots. Helping Papa Ray.
Now, at least once a year, Diahn and I meet up here to visit. This is the room where I slept. The pink room, Carmen calls it. When I visit, I feel like I'm at a bed and breakfast.
Recognize the paintings? They're originals. By the famous artist, Diahn Ott. I love the pink room. Good sleepin'. Peaceful.
This is said famous artist and her mother, Carmen.
It's funny, no matter where I go, or how much time passes, they will always be my family. And when I go there, I am reminded that Brian lives on. He lives on in the faces of his beautiful sisters and his Mom and Dad. He lives on in their memories. I can even see him in his nieces and nephews. He lives on in who they are, who they've become. He lives on in our son, Jesse and our grandson, Little Brian. In the music. In the woods. In all he loved.
And I don't want to be sad about his death anymore. I want to celebrate his life. He certainly did. He loved life. I hear his voice when Jesse speaks, I hear his laugh when Little Brian laughs. I see his love of music in both of them.
And I feel blessed that he was here, that I was his wife, that he forever changed my life, that he brought me into this family that I will always claim as my own.
And that he carries on.