Friday, July 14, 2006
Can it really be six months? A half a year? Too long for you to be just gone on a trip, though at times that's just what it seems like, and I'll expect you to let me know where you are, or something I can check on at your house for you. Six months tomorrow. Six months ago today I saw you, living, for the last time. At those moments when the reality hits me like a little electric jolt, I can just hear your voice, your laugh, see a gesture, your smile. And it is a thudding realization that you are not just on a trip somewhere, that you actually did live and breathe and were part of my life, that it is really absurd to have to know that you are really not here.
Not here - not in this realm. You were, you lived, you breathed, you laughed, cried, struggled, rejoiced, a friend, a wife, a mother, a sister. Now you are not here. Not. Not to call, not to see you, not to tell you things - anything.. big.. little - you listened as if that were the only thing you had to do that moment. Friend. We called each other Friend. "Hello, Friend," we would say on the phone. We signed our cards, "Friend." What a precious name to be called. What a precious friend you were. And you still are - do you know how much I miss you? Do you know you would be a grandmother - a Ya-Ya - in February? Do you know that Richard is retiring in January? We think you do. We comfort ourselves thinking you do. We say, "Teri knows so and so... Mom knows it... She knows it..." I even pray and ask Jesus to tell you hello for me. Six months. God willing, what will six years feel like? Sixteen? When I am 74 what will it feel like to have known and lost such a wonderful friend? A constant reality check that you are really still not here? Will I still have Red Hat Hoppy sitting in my bookshelf, the pictures of you holding that silly frog with the red hat, along with the sparkly Red Hat ornament, the seaside pictures of us as "young" women, your lock of hair in the heart-shaped box? Only God knows.
And I thank God for blessing me with you, and I hope I was a blessing to you. He has given me many gifts these last few months: a way of speaking up and speaking to people I formerly never would have done, because you would have; learning to do things on my own - go to showers, weddings, church, feeling vulnerable and alone because you were not there to enjoy these events and make them more so for me, letting me know who all these people are! The gift of tears in the shower, tears in the truck when a certain song comes on, tears in church, tears in our women's class, tears in my office; also laughter remembering the good times we had together: looking at all the pictures (copying them for Tara), remembering trips, vacations, birthdays, nursing home visits; Sonic Drive-In sundaes; having a more compassionate heart, knowing that just a hug, a word, a card can mean so much to someone who has lost a loved one or is ill; feeling more deeply; trying to live in the moment. ("I'm going to have fun, enjoy life, because we never know," you used to say.)
Yes, and Oscar. I have told people you were like a puppy, always prancing around Richard or others, just making them feel loved and happy. Well, God answered my prayers and I finally got the little dog I had always wanted. And this is a compliment to you and to Oscar! - he reminds me of you! He's right there with me, he's happy and prances around when I get home, he makes me laugh, his love is unconditional, he makes me feel like the most important person, he is determined (remember asking Paul for the raise till you got one!), he is sweet and loving, he is his own person. Like you.
Yes, Friend. Six months tomorrow. A half a year already, but too long.
I love you, Friend.