I drove your truck to Bountiful today. I started missing you the moment I glanced down and saw your aqua colored gloves sitting by the gear shift. I can’t bring myself to give them away. Not only are they yours, but they’re your favorite color. They covered your hand, your flesh and blood hand, when the wheel was cold, and it’s one more piece of you I’m not ready to let go of yet. Silly, perhaps, but if I put them on it’s almost like I get to hold your hand. Your hand was in them and now mine is. It feels like we overlap then, like our DNA is dancing around together in your glove. Yeah, I know, it’s weird. I can’t help it.
I had a wonderful visit with Sean and Jenny, though it wasn’t as long as I’d have liked. It almost feels like it did when we were kids with Sean. I feel a closeness with him that I haven’t for a long time. I guess losing you has drawn us together and made us need each other again. When we were kids we needed each other because there was no one else to play with, though we always did enjoy each other’s company. Kind of weird that my little brother was always such a great friend, even though he does say I tormented him. I never meant to. Well, that’s not exactly true. Yes, I did mean to, but it was only because it was fun and he was my little brother so I could get away with it. It was just a way to get his attention because I liked him. Backwards, yes, but that’s the way siblings are, unfortunately. He’s devouring Brandon’s books and was disappointed I forgot the third one. I promised to take it back on Monday when I go in for my movie day.
After visiting with them I went to Bountiful and took Teeny to our favorite restaurant. Ahh, the memories in that place. It made me rather nostalgic and I shared some of those memories with your grandson. It’s still kind of hard for him to talk about you. I know he thinks of you often. His behavior tells me how much he misses you, but he won’t talk about you much. I wish he would. I know from experience how much unexpressed pain can hurt a person and build up to the exploding point. Not only is that harder on him, but in the end, it’s harder on all of us. I wish he would just realize that I want to be there for him. I’d love to listen while he talked, but that’s just not the way he communicates. Words aren’t his thing.
Everywhere I went today I thought of you. I wish you could have been with us. I would have loved to have the hours to chat like we always did and go see our old house and point out my old high school to my son. I miss your comforting words and your carefree laughter. I missed your veined hands and crooked fingers. I miss sharing beautiful music and funny e-mail with you. I still hear your voice in my mind sharing space with the characters in my head. Yours is different than theirs though. More solid. Real. I hope that will stay. It keeps a piece of you inside of me. It makes ME feel more real.
I wish I’d known that our trip to the hospital would be our last trip together. I would have been more patient and understanding. I wasn’t terrible, but was a little grossed out with what your body was putting out. I tried not to be, but I couldn’t help it. It hurt so much to see you in so much pain, but I thought you’d be in the hospital for an hour or two and they would fix you right up. It wasn’t until the very last day that I fully realized you wouldn’t be coming home. I didn’t get to tell you good-bye. I know I’ve written that before, but I know you know how that feels. That was always your greatest regret when Daddy died. I can’t even begin to count the number of times I heard you say “I never got to say good-bye.” I said my farewells, but not good-bye. They are completely different. You know how we were. Heck, if we were on the cell phone and got cut off, it wouldn’t matter how close we were to finishing the conversation, we would always call back just to say good-bye and know it was the end. No loose ends. No letting things hang, and yet I didn’t get to hear it from you in the end. I don’t know that I could have said it even if I’d known, but I wish I’d had the chance.
The tears are falling now, and though I know they help to ease the pain, it’s hard to let them go. I feel so often like I have to be strong, I’ve got too much to do to deal with the emotions, but I know that if I don’t I’ll bottle them up again and close myself off from the world and that’s not good either. I actually write better, feel better, and function better when I allow the tears to come. It’s painful for the moment, but when expressed I find more peace. It even helps me sleep better when I write before bed. Most nights I lay there for an hour or more with my mind racing, thinking mostly of you, the memories of our life together and especially the days and hours before your death coming back clearly. When I remember the last year or two, I think you knew your time was coming. I think that’s why you pled with the Lord not to take you until He knew I was ready. I’m glad he waited, but I still wish I’d had more time. I don’t think it would have ever been enough.
Shari has stepped in and filled many of the spots you left empty. She lets me bounce story ideas off of her and lets me ramble on about whatever is on my mind, much like you and I used to. I always enjoyed doing that before, but now I need it. She is a wonderful sister-friend and I’m so thankful to have her in my life. She seems to understand me in much the way you did. She sees beneath the surface and not only lets me be myself, but encourages and threatens me if I don’t. I love that. It’s nice being with someone who loves me just the way I am, flaws and all.
I saw the psychologist again. She was thrilled at how well the letters are working for me and was astounded at how fast they have worked. We spent more time talking about Gary and the kids than we did about my grief this time around. I really like her. It’s like sitting down and visiting with a friend. She’s easy to talk to and gives some great advice without it sounding all doctorish, if you know what I mean. It’s a lot like talking to you, to be honest. I’m so grateful Gary kicked my butt into going to see her. The things she has taught me has changed my life and I will be forever grateful.
Do you have gardens in heaven? I know you don’t need to eat, but I can’t help but wonder. I don’t think heaven would be heaven to you or Grandpa without a garden nearby. I can imagine the two of you working up there side-by-side and catching up, you chatting at him and him nodding his head in response, then working together in silence. He wasn’t much of a talker. I remember that. But I also remember his great big heart and how he used to push me around in the wheelbarrow. He never seemed to mind having his noisy, rowdy grandkids around and I adored him for it. I hope you are finally able to tell him all the things you wished you had in life. I hope you finally have the bond with your Daddy that you longed for. I love you, Mom. That will never change.