Today is emotional. It’s not the fact that Austin Vantrease could be set free in a matter of days (see the countdown timer in the right sidebar). It has nothing to do with Ryan’s upcoming string of medical appointments and procedures this month. Nor does it have something to do with Sue being away on business travel for the entire week. Sure, all of these suck but it’s not the overriding cause of sadness today.
My daughter, Kari, is heading back to West Virginia University to start the fall term of her Junior year.
All the way back on May 8, the day she came home for summer break, I knew this day would come. I decided to just ignore this fact for three months. Live in the moment, baby! Even just yesterday I refused to think about it. It only would make me sad a day earlier than necessary. I’m heartbroken, yes, but just so proud of her. She enters this year accepted into her major. She was granted waiver from all customary requirements and prerequisites because her grades are strong. She is thriving in the college environment, just as Ryan was.
The past two years on this day I couldn’t help but feel the injustice that Ryan wasn’t returning with her. It was heartbreaking. This year is different though because he would have graduated. Instead, he is an eternal sophomore. His GPA is forever a 3.79. He was literally kicked out of school by Austin Vantrease and Jonathan May.
I think just how foolish I was after the attack. I refused to withdraw Ryan from the University. I held out until the last day of classes in that semester. More precisely, the last moments. I remember how deeply I hurt that day as I spoke with the Dean of Student Affairs from an ICU room in Atlanta. I squeezed in the tears throughout the process. Then, it was official. “Your son’s withdrawal from the fall semester 2009 is complete”, I’m told.
I raised my middle finger, pumping it a few times for dramatic effect, to a God that I believed really doesn’t give a damn. When I pressed the red “end” button to hang up the phone, I simultaneously disconnected from the call and my faith. I closed my eyes and tuned into all my senses hoping my defiance would have an effect. I didn’t care if it were negative. I seriously was hoping to be struck by lightning. I just wanted something. Anything. Would I feel the loss?
Nothing happened; then or since.
Comment: I know today’s post has the makings of a religious discussion. This is fine, but don’t do it for my benefit. I’m asking that comments don’t tell me about how God has his own grand plan and time table. I will never — ever! — accept that everything happens for a reason. The idea that no cross will be too heavy to bear is lost on me. This “cross” has crushed me. It has damaged me beyond recovery. I simply can’t relate to this adage because I’ve experienced differently. It’s not that I oppose religion (I consider myself agnostic). It’s just not relevant in my life, but I still hope it is in other’s.