If there is one redeeming thing about an extended illness it is that you have time together to talk about things of importance to you. Joel and I had 3 years of his illness and in that time we had many different conversations about things large and small that were important to him. I've mentioned before we talked about what would happen if I was forced into a position to make life changing decisions on his behalf. We had an advanced directive typed out which I would encourage everyone to do. We had conversations about how he would want things handled if he were sick and he trusted me to do things as he wanted. I do have such relief in my heart that as difficult of decisions as I had to make on his behalf I know each decision I made was what he wanted. We also talked about raising our son and things that were important to Joel to instill in Milo. We had many many conversations along those lines and as difficult as they were I was glad we had them, because they have become reference points for me along the way. One of the conversations we had after his first stroke was oddly about a play-set for my son. We had talked before about getting him a play-set but had decided to put it off for a little while. When Joel was in the hospital he told me one day it was really, really important to him for Milo to have a play-set because he knew Milo would enjoy it. So I told him it was fine we could get him the play-set. After Joel died it became really important for me to fulfill this request for Joel because it was one of the last things he asked me to do. It was way more than just being about a play-set for me, this was for my husband. I got the play-set from SAMs and it was quite the undertaking to put it together. Thankfully, I had 7 amazing guys from my church LifeGroup who spent a day and a half working like crazy to get it done. Milo and I watched from the window as they worked and Milo couldn't wait to get out there and test it out. Once the moment finally arrived he was grinning from ear to ear. He kept saying over and over again "cool!" which is his new favorite word of the moment. I don't know how much our loved ones "look down" on us from Heaven. I'm sure if I was in Heaven I would want a glimpse but I would also be pretty busy with the marvelous scene that surrounded me where I was. I don't believe that Joel spends every waking moment in Heaven watching us but I do believe there are key moments that he looks in on. I believe watching these men so selflessly give up their time to build a playset for his son was probably one of those moments. As I watched through the window I cried many times. I cried because I know how much Joel would have loved to have been right in the middle of the building project. I cried because I know Joel will never have the moments playing with Milo that he wanted to. But I was also grateful and I know that if Joel was watching he had to have been too.
Thank you so much Jon, Josh, Joey, David, Gib, Kevin and Ryan for all of your hard work. And thank you Lauren S., Hollis, Lauren K., Taylor, Lauren P., Michelle and Ashley for giving up your husbands for a day and a half. It meant so much to us!
Here are the pics from the building process and of Milo enjoying his new man cave.