My life has changed so dramatically since you passed, and every day I think about how different it would be with you. I usually push away these thoughts; realizing the pain they will bring.
Instead, I try and shift my focus to my current life and new reality. I now view my “alternate life” as a fantasy per se. This fantasy is that you and I are our raising our son as a family in some alternate universe.
In honor of what should have been your 36th birthday, I’ve decided to go all in and imagine where we would be if you were still alive today.
Would we still be living in the house on Michigan Court?
The house that I will always regret buying was sold to a family a few months after you died. I drove by it the other day out of curiosity. They’ve changed a few things, but it looks cozy.
While sitting in my car that day, Jax innocently peered out the window, and hollered “Dog!” It was heartbreaking to see his sweet face smile at a home where so much horror took place.
I pictured you mowing the lawn wearing that black sleeveless KISS t-shirt with your hair pulled back into a ponytail. Your ensemble was always completed with a red bandanna and aviator sunglasses.
I realized this was a home we’d only planned on having a couple of years because we would need more room. It only had two bedrooms, and we wanted to have a second child less than two years after our first.
Would it be a boy or a girl?
Would Jax have a sibling by now and what would the gender be? We wanted a boy first, and then a girl. Everybody wants both right?
We even had her name picked out – Sadie Lynn Ayers (to honor my aunt Lynn who was taken by cancer).
I wonder if she’d have your red hair? That would sure make your grandma Ruby Nell happy, whom you inherited your red hair from.
I wonder if Jax would be jealous of his baby sister or maybe the opposite? He lights up like a Christmas tree when he sees a baby, and always says, “Hey baby!” It’s adorable.
Would a Beat Better Music still be around?
The day Tony informed me they had a new guitar teacher at the store, it shattered the remaining pieces of my already broken heart. My mom and dad had to bring me a bag to breathe into because I was hyperventilating from this awful news.
I can remember my dad trying to console me. In a fit of rage I yelled, “I keep losing the few pieces of Justin I have left, eventually I’ll have nothing.”
After some therapy and some healing I was able to visit the store again. I looked forward to future visits and Jax being able to see the place you dedicated your heart to. It was also the place I could sense your presence the most.
I thought I had plenty of time and never imagined it would close. Now, it’s all gone, and my heart has been broken once again. I think you were the heart of that store, and the second you took your last breath, so did it.
Would we all still be there today? Me, You, Tony, Larry, and Tim? We were a family, and I can picture us all crowded around Jax while you desperately try to turn him into the next Kenny Wayne Shepherd .
Tony would throw up his hands and snicker, “Ssssssss he’s already better than you Justin.” Oh what fun we’d still be having, making new memories and savoring the old.
Would we still have our band The Ayers?
For the ten plus years we were married, live shows were our life. We lived and breathed music, but we both knew things would have to change after Jax was born.
The plan was for my mom to become our travel nanny. I was clueless to the level of commitment a baby actually took, and now I wonder if we’d been able to pull it off. I do perform every weekend now, but I don’t think we both could do it.
Music was your life, and I knew you’d never give it up. I on the other hand, could (and would) have been content supporting your music career. Maybe we’d play the occasional acoustic show together, but I seriously doubt we’d still have our own band.
Every time someone gives me a compliment, I think of you. I think of what a tragedy it is that they are missing out on the incredible talent that was Justin Ayers.
Before I lost you, my greatest fear was losing you. I thought the world would stop turning or time would stand still.
But the harsh reality is time marches on, and it will continue to do so. I will attend more funerals, and welcome new babies.
The second you left this earth will forever be frozen in time. Every new endeavor will ultimately bring me back to that moment in time, and I will once again wonder, “Where would we be?”