A few weeks ago I got the chance to record the audiobook version of my book. The folks at Harper Collins not only let me tell our story, they let me actually tell our story...
On Wednesday morning, we took a family trip home to Indiana to celebrate Christmas a few days early with Joey's family. We had such a wonderful time. I started to write about the trip, but in the end, nothing I could say captured it as well as a few lines and some video clips I took with my iPhone...
Over the last six months or so, I have been asked many times (and encouraged many more times) to write a book. To turn the stories in this blog I write into a book of some sort. I have never really responded to any of the questions before, but the truth is… I am writing a book. It is almost finished actually. But it isn’t filled with blogs that I have written about my wife’s last few months or the posts I wrote about our life for the two years before that, it is a book that covers a life time.
On Monday, we got home from spending some time out west in Wyoming and Montana. It was a trip that has been planned since last winter. But I didn’t plan it… my wife did.
This past February, with snow on the ground outside her window at the little house by the Gaither pond in Indiana, Joey looked at the beautiful view from her bedside, and remembered another view that she loved. And then with her three sisters gathered around her, Joey told stories about our trips out west to the Big Sky Country. She showed them pictures we had taken during some of the adventures our family has had out there over the years. And then she asked me to find a way to take her three sisters and their families out west for the first time this summer.
I have never been a great gift-giver.
Like most men, when Valentines day or a birthday rolls around, I would scramble to find ‘just the right gift’ at 5 pm on my way home from work, or walking through Walmart or Target the night before. It’s embarrassing actually. For me, and for a lot of guys I think.
This past weekend, Indy and I went home to Indiana…without Joey.
It was the first time that we’d been back there, since my wife’s passing in early March. I was excited and nervous about the trip at the same time. Part of me wasn’t ready to go back. Not yet. But another part of me knew it was the right thing, and believed that it would be healing for us. And it was.
It was her last request.
The last thing on the the list Joey gave me, of what she wanted at her funeral service… when the time came. And we both knew that time was coming soon.
“I’d like for someone to sing the hymn Leave It There at my graveside”, Joey said. And then she stopped and added, “no… not someone”, and she looked at me and smiled, “I want Bradley Walker to sing it for me”.
I filmed our lives for two-and-a-half years. I don’t know why, I just did.
Like writing this blog, something told me that I needed to capture that time of our lives on film. To have it forever. To be able to remember it and share it with others. I had no idea how important it would be.
Especially to me.
I keep my guitar pics on my desk in a little bowl that our oldest daughter made and gave me one Sunday in May when she was probably five or six years old. It’s pink and handmade of pottery, and in big grey letters on the outside it says “Happy Mother’s Day Dad”.
It’s one of my most prized possessions.
We spent this past weekend in Kentucky at a camp called 'The Center for Courageous Kids'. Indiana's best friend Scout has been coming there with her little brother Ash and her Mom and Dad for the last couple of years... so this year Indy and I came along. I'd been hearing about the camp for awhile - not just from Scout's family - but also from people at Indiana's school and many others. It's primarily a camp for children with special needs and their families, but once we arrived, it was easy to see that this place was that and much more.