Day 31: The Next Goodbye

Day 31.

Can you even believe it? When I went into this month, I was experiencing equal parts enthusiasm and dread. I was excited because the three previous years of kindnessing had been very healing and productive, so I felt healthy and energized in a way that I hadn't in years past. I also knew that we just moved at the end of September, we had a wedding to prepare for and #AdamsActs and the blogging on top of it felt like a lot to take on. So, part of me was very afraid!

Now that the month is over, I can honestly say that God sustained me in a way that I needed, and he did a lot of it through you guys. One of you sent me an anonymous card for every single day of October. One of you brought me a meal. One of you sent me flowers. One of you gave me a sweater that made me look trapped inside a sharpened pencil. 

I could not have done this month without those tender mercies along the way. Every like, every share, every post, every act of kindness, every gesture of support provided a sort of balm to my weary, aching heart. I felt encouraged by your participation and connected to a community of people longing to love other people through acts of kindness.

For Day 31, my girls and a neighbor friend went to deliver all the blankets from the blanket drive to Marvin and Denise Robinson, who are dear family friends of ours, and also missionaries to the City of Rochester. 

We had so many blankets that I literally had to stop them from pouring out of our van. With my leg. 
Marlie and London were my little helpers... 

We brought a friend for back up.

Although Annalee didn't seem to need it...

Marvin and Denise Robinson with their kids and grandkids (some of our nearest and dearest friends... Including my beautiful goddaughter Macey on the right.)

Marvin has a bread ministry, where he delivers bread to families in need, and they will regularly deliver holiday meals and school supplies, as well. He and Denise have been in ministry for over 20 years and have devoted their lives to loving and serving the people in the city of Rochester.

If you are looking for final #AdamsActs  for day 31, donating to their ministry efforts wouldn't be a bad way to end the month. You can learn more and/or donate here:

After delivering the blankets, we hosted friends and family for dinner and trick-or-treating. If our Seven Dwarves costumes weren't your favorite act of kindness than I am concerned about your ability to enjoy things. Because. Come on.

I mean, Grumpy alone... 

With the hairy chin strap? 

And if Weirdy was one of the dwarves, this would make a lot more sense... 

I am counting all this costume-making as #AdamsActs because it is a family tradition that my brother would have approved of. I enter into evidence

Exhibit A)

Adam as a mummy/shaving cream monster? 

And Exhibit B)

Kristin as the least terrifying cat ever, and Adam as the only clown in history that was adorable and didn't make me throw up in my mouth. 

His precious little body, that was somehow as wide as it was tall in this picture, all dressed up, just touches my heart in a way that I couldn't begin to describe. I don't remember Adam like this because I wasn't born yet. Adam the little boy...

This is the Adam I remember...

The big boy I looked up to. 

The goof. (Seriously, all the time with those socks...)

Then the athlete.

The champ.

The handsome stud/never had a girlfriend/just grew out of his skinny legs.

The young man.

Now that I am a mom though, I can look at those pictures of Adam as a little boy and a whole world of pain will fall upon my chest. Not because I remember Adam as a baby, or as a toddler, or as a little boy... but because I know that there are ones who do. There are aunts and uncles and teachers and, mostly, a mom and a dad who knew him for 17 whole entire years. And they lost him. They lost the baby, the toddler, the little boy, the stud, the champ, and the young man about to make his mark on the world. 

They lost all of it with one stranger's choice. And I look at those pictures of him as a little boy and I see the teeth and knees and legs of my nephews. I see my mother's mouth set in my dad's jaw. I see my daughter and my niece in that squatty little clown, and when I look at these haunting eyes, I see my own.

I don't know how to describe the pain and relief I feel when October passes. I am relieved that I have stopped simply surviving my way through it, and I am happy that I am able to thrive. I am relieved that the burden of sharing daily is lifted. Still, I find that I am also very sad. When October ends, it almost feels like we say goodbye to him again. Over and over, we have to let him go. November 1st is always my saddest day, because I remember so clearly that was the first day without him. 

I remember when they came home and told us "we lost him," and in that moment watching my mom motion to my brother-in-law, Joe, to put away Adam's wresting singlet and warm-ups. They were strewn on the living room floor because I had just dressed up as Adam for Halloween the night before. Even in the midst of her greatest loss, her instinct was to keep mothering, to protect. She didn't want us to see Adam's things in that moment. But I saw it. I saw his things and knew he'd never wear them again. And it was the first goodbye. 

So, as we wrap up the fourth year of these acts of kindness in honor of the first boy I ever loved... it feels like yet another goodbye. Thank you for allowing my family's story to impact so many people through your willingness to pass it along. Thank you for being kind on earth, when he cannot. Thank you for sitting with me while I say the next goodbye.