on my own

i pulled up your picture today – a collage i’d made right after you died. and the world shifted.

you have become a memory.

there’s this picture i keep of you on the fridge – the one i used for your celebration of life invitation – that shows you joyous. holding your youngest grandchild in your arms, him squirming and you beaming. your eyes are affixed on mine through the camera and through time. looking at that picture is like looking at you in the flesh.

was like.

was.

i looked at you today and i didn’t talk to you in my head the way i always have since you died. you just weren’t there.

i don’t know how to explain it. it was a loss. another severance. a disconnect. another death. your death. again.

i think i finally accepted that you’re gone. that you won’t be coming back up the stairs. that i won’t find you at the stove on a stool, carefully cooking through the pain. i won’t walk in on you and the baby sleeping in the rocking chair. that baby is almost four now, anyway.

and you are gone.

poof.

i’ve spend the last eighteen months and one day deeply mourning you. not less every day, but maybe less every month this year. i googled how many days i’ve been without you the other week when the big kids and i were talking about math.

five hundred and fifty one, today.

and for five hundred and fifty of those days, you were kind of still here, slipping away a bit every day like a slow untethering.

and now, gone.

and i’ll remember.

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