It has been six months today since you passed away.
There are still times when I think about you or look at a picture of you and I have to remind myself that you’re gone. It just doesn’t seem possible.
It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that you are no longer here on this earth. That you no longer live and breathe and walk amongst us. How can that be? Where did you go? Where are you now?
It’s a very surreal feeling to know that you no longer have a physical body for us to see and touch and hold whenever we want. Your bathrobe still hangs on the closet door. Your toothbrush is still nestled in its cup in the bathroom. Your brush is still full of your hair. You are gone and yet, these things still remain. They are here, but you are not.
And you’re never coming back.
As summer turns to fall, the air cools and the leaves find their place on the ground beneath our feet, I can’t help but think about the upcoming holiday season. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. Your favorite days of the year because they meant spending time with the people you loved most in the world – your family.
I can’t help but think about all the things you will be missing out on. For me, it’s less about the actual holidays, but more about the ordinary moments full of love, laughter, and joy.
Decorating the house with pumpkins, sunflowers, and scarecrows, as you did every year. Shopping for the best candy to hand out on Halloween and helping yourself to a few pieces.
Seeing the girls’ faces light up when they try on their costumes for the first time. Taking them to pick out pumpkins and go for a hayride.
Planning on whose house to go to for Thanksgiving dinner because there was absolutely no way you would be hosting it yourself. Going shopping on Black Friday and having your Christmas shopping list nearly completed by the end of the day.
Baking cookies with the girls and decorating every square inch of the house for Christmas. Singing Christmas carols with them at the top of your lungs.
Organizing stacks of perfectly-wrapped presents so you could count them to make sure everyone had an equal amount. Getting the house ready for our Christmas Eve party and then staying in our pajamas all day on Christmas Day.
Spoiling the girls with everything they wanted and even more because you would get so much joy out of seeing the smiles on their faces. Watching them run around the house and play with their new toys all day.
We will do our best to carry out the old traditions without you, much like we’ve been doing the past few years while you were still here, but unable to do them. And we will do our best to form the new traditions, the ones you never got a chance to do.
We will make the most of every single moment. We will smile and laugh and be joyful, all while holding immense grief and sadness in the depths of our hearts. It will be fine and nice and even good, but it will never be the same without you.
The quiet, ordinary days are the hardest. Those are the times I miss you the most. I can almost trick myself into believing you are simply at your house while I am at mine, but I know that’s not true. No matter how much I wish it was possible, it’s just not.
But I also want you to know there are times I don’t even think about you. Albeit brief, there are periods of time when I am able to distract myself from your absence long enough to feel joy and happiness again. I am able to smile again. I am able to enjoy doing things with people I love again.
I am able to live again.
One thing this journey and your death has taught me is that the human heart is made to carry many different emotions at once. I am able to feel joy amidst the grief. The grief is always there. It always will be. But I am able to experience joy and love and happiness in spite of it.
Or maybe not in spite of it, but because of it. Because I know pain and suffering at its utmost level. Because I know grief like the back of my hand. Because there were many days when I would question how the hell I could possibly go on living in a world without you and yet, here I am.
In a world without the very person who brought me into it.
It has been such a deep, profound loss. And I don’t just mean your death. I mean losing you repeatedly, every single day, over the course of ten years.
A deep, profound, gut-wrenching experience of loss.
But at the same time, I know I would not be the person I am today without it.
Losing you the way I lost you has taught me more than any mother could possibly ever teach her child.
Patience, compassion, empathy, gratitude, resiliency – these are just a few of the gifts your suffering has given me. As each day goes on, I only learn more. It has not been easy and I have had many setbacks, but I am determined to work my way through the darkness, to pull myself out of the muck, so that one day I can stand in the sunlight on solid ground and know I am there because of you.
Six months without you.
Half a year has gone by.
It just doesn’t seem real.
I am sad and I miss you, but I am going to be ok.
Just like I promised.
See ya later, alligator.
I love you,