Today marks 15 months since you left. I know you didn’t leave the kids and me because you wanted to, but knowing that doesn’t make it any easier on us all.
Yes, I’ve gotten better. We all have. We’re learning how to wander around the empty space in our lives that your leaving created, renovating and making adjustments, changing things while still leaving the framework you built. It’s a beautiful structure with a sturdy foundation and so many good memories, so we wouldn’t want to alter its integrity or charm.
But it’s still a change, one that we weren’t expecting and certainly didn’t want. Much like those who rebuild after a natural disaster, we’re flexing our resilience muscles and making the best of a bad situation. If we’re being forced to change, then we will control the changes and not allow ourselves to merely be swept along by the floodwaters.
Through everything, there is one truth – I miss you. For Mother’s Day this year, the kids bought me a giant teddy bear and put one of your old t-shirts on it before spritzing it with your favorite cologne. He is now my sleeping buddy. I curl up into him, close my eyes and inhale “your” scent. He’s big enough to cuddle, and with enough imagination I can pretend for just a moment that you are lying beside me. It is oddly comforting, even as it is nowhere close to your “replacement”.
Although I have more good days than bad – and more ups than downs – these days, those moments that buckle my knees seem to come out of nowhere. Although they can be crippling, they are thankfully short-lived. It’s as if I can spring back much more quickly when they strike.
The heaviness is lifting. (At least the emotional heaviness is – I’m seriously in a rut about the physical. *insert eye roll*) It’s easier to actually see the light without having to first force myself to look for it. It has become a habit rather than a chore.
Our family is growing, too, as you know. This weekend, our little Princess, the baby girl who came into the world kicking and screaming and looking very much like an orangutan with big brown eyes, hair that stuck straight up from her head, and long, skinny arms and legs, will marry her handsome Prince. (He calls himself her Beast, however he is anything but…)
We know you’ll be there watching over us all. We know you’ll see us shedding both tears of joy and tears of sadness knowing you’ll be watching from afar, rather than front and center with us. It will be a day filled with bittersweet memories, although we’ll do our darnedest to tip the scales in favor of the sweet.
But we will still greatly feel your absence that day – we will miss your booming laughter and the tears you would be working hard not to show. We know how you would have stood there beaming from ear to ear, remembering the moment you first took that little hairball into your arms and comparing that moment to the one in front of you, our little Kiwi all grown up into a beautiful young woman and about to embark on the same path we started many years ago.
The Beauty and her Beast will be surrounded by so many people who adore them, many who will have traveled great distances to witness their fairy tale wedding, the start of their happily ever after. It is both astonishing and humbling how many of your friends will be making the trip. I know we live in a beautiful place, but my brother choosing to come to Florida in the heat of July? That’s true love.
You’d be amazed at the people who have stepped up and stepped in since you’ve been gone. And probably equally amazed at those who haven’t. I try not to take it personally, because we all fight demons nobody else knows about. But I’d be lying if I said it didn’t hurt at least a little bit. But when I hear stories from other widows, I realize I’m actually blessed to have so many in the “do care” column. I’ve got to fill in these empty spaces in my heart with something (or someones).
Anyway, I just want to say again how much I miss you. I love it when you stop by whether in song, in spirit, or in thought, but none of those things are enough. I know they have to be, but they aren’t. It’s like eating fat-free cake. Yes, it’s cake, and if your sweet tooth is strong enough, it’ll have to do. But it just isn’t the same as sliding your fork into a rich, moist chocolate mocha cake and taking that first decadent bite.
You’re my chocolate cake, honey, and I miss you like crazy.
Cheri (aka your “Dream Girl”)
P.S. If you’re feeling up to it, will you send your Princess a sign on Saturday? We’d love that. xoxo
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