I sincerely hope that although I've made such long strides in my life, its still acceptable to be sad sometimes when I write.
Today, and recently, I can't help but think about 'this time last year...' I invited Ryan to join me in Yuma for Christmas, as did the rest of my family, because we all knew he wasn't going to be able to make it home for the holiday. It broke my heart to know the man I loved was going to spend it alone in a new city, but because of conflicts they had that he felt uncomfortable with, he said no and that he'd wait for me here. Luckily he ended up with his friend baking cookies all day with some other people they knew that also couldn't make it back home for the holiday, so he wasn't alone. He called me Christmas morning, so early he woke me up, to say "Merry Christmas babe! Its our first one together!" The plan was to spend the day with my family in Yuma, then drive back that night because I had to work early the next day. Ry was so excited that we'd spend Christmas night together, and called or texted throughout the day to see when I was leaving so he could see me. I ended up getting snowed in and staying an extra night, missing work and spending 4 hours on the road fighting my way back to Greeley, but the next day the excitement I saw on his face when I saw him again, he seemed so happy to have his girl back.
The next week he was lucky enough to go home to see his little girl, and they spent new years together. That evening when I was getting ready he called and said he was nervous about me going to a nightclub for the celebration. He said "you are just so beautiful, I just know some guy is going to try and take you home, and I'm not there to help you remember my love." I laughed and told him that there was no way I'd forget it....then, he told me the big news...never really figured out if it was true or not, but at the time, I felt like the luckiest girl in the world. He called me Mrs. Barber, and I laughed and told him to stop teasing...then he went on to tell me that he told his family that he wanted to marry me, and had the conversation with Lis about what an important person I was in her daddy's life. "Let's go to Vegas when I come home and just get married, I want to spend the rest of my life with you & being away from you now makes me realize that even more..." he said. Not exactly romantic, but it was the wild adventerous side of him that I just adored, so I said yes.
When he came home, I swore there was a ring..he'd asked for my ring size and everything, but there wasn't. Instead, he'd bought me a cross necklace that was so beautiful, because while he was away, I got the call that I was going to start worship team soon, and he wanted me to know how proud he was of me for finally chasing my music again. He said "When the time is right, I'll have the perfect ring for you..."
Memories of this incredibly romantic whim of my life just keep flooding into my mind as the days get closer, the men in my life now keep disappointing me, or days when I just feel his presence in this house that used to be ours.
This is the first Christmas and New Year's the world is spending without Ryan Owen Barber, and now more than ever...I hate the reality of his choice, and even if he'd left me someday for his life in New Mexico, or another woman, or whatever...he should still be alive.