Last week I had a computer crash that required me to wipe the computer clean and reinstall everything. Fortunately, I saw it coming and was able to back up critical files that hadn’t been saved to the network. Even then, it took most of three work days to get back to fully functioning and caused quite a few headaches. Paths to things I need had to be reestablished, all programs had to be reinstalled and possibly most annoying, I lost all my website favorites. Working for a web based software company, virtually everything I use was saved as a favorite. Things still take longer to accomplish than they did before.
As I dealt with that, I couldn’t help but think of how similar that computer seemed to Austin, and how reestablishing everything and recreating all favorites reminded me of our family and what we’ve gone through.
Some days it just seems like Austin was wiped from the face of the earth. We knew he was having trouble, we prayed a ‘crash’ wouldn’t happen, and we tried to provide ‘backup’ in the way of love and support. But much like my computer, we didn’t keep the crash from happening. I don’t think we could have, though we still all play those questions out regularly. It’s been almost four years, and so little of him remains but our memories. Those who loved him remember him, and those who love us remember that he’s gone and miss him for us. But it’s still a small number, and even friends of his who cared at some point haven’t asked in ages. I wonder if they even remember.
As for us… we had to learn what life was like after. Learn how to find our way in this altered world. We needed to learn how to search, how to work with law enforcement and media, how to make people remember. We eventually found our way back to enjoying most of our favorite things in life. But we re-prioritized and made room for new favorites. Those now include people and things we didn’t even know of before ‘the crash’- like others with a missing loved one who had been in our shoes, search organizations who continue to provide help, and friends who stepped up more than we could ask. We also realized that some things installed in our lives weren’t as important as we thought, and left them wiped away.
It still is hard to know that he is wiped from some minds. My own sons won’t remember but by stories we tell (one of the reasons for the blog). But I’m reminded and encouraged by the knowledge that there are many who remember, and above all, God knows him, loves him, and has him in his hands no matter where he is.
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