I have not written you a letter since you’ve been gone (just over a year and a 1/2 now), but so much about you is surfacing and the void you’ve left is feeling super strong lately. I miss you and wish you were able to experience the milestones and highlights with all the kids that I am getting to.
April Fool’s Day was just a few days ago…and the pranks that the kids were playing on me could only remind me of the influence you had on them. Always a prankster and never letting an opportunity go by to joke and play with someone. There’s no way I can explain that trait to someone who didn’t know you. It was a unique sense of humor and charming way about it that made everyone smile and laugh…with you and at themselves.
Jamie watched Brayden last Thursday while I went to work…which was a savior! He asked if around the house we talk about you a lot. I just shrugged. Yes, we do. Usually more when Jamie is visiting! He said he took Bray for a walk and they chatted. Bray started pointing to the sky saying that’s where Daddy lives and that you drove a black truck. Weird. We never have talked about what you drove (illegally)…but the black truck was obviously it…I’m still scratching my head on that one.
Mackenzie and I were at her cheering competition yesterday. She pointed to the “box” seating at the Whittemore Center. “Me and Mike snuck in there when he was here with us”. All smiles, fond memories. “We weren’t supposed to be in there”. A little evil giggle ensued.
You are everywhere Michael. I was putting around the kitchen this morning and put something away in the pantry closet (that you temporarily took the doors off…that still do not have doors!). I noticed the “growing chart” you created on the trim of the door jam documenting names and dates and little pencil lines that note how tall the kids were at that point in time. You never got to make an entry for Bray…but at the top is a “Mike 4/06”. I am not sure I ever noticed it before today. In April of 2006 you stood in that spot, undoubtedly with little ones looking up at you watching you show how “big” you were. The grief and pain that hit me at that point, standing in the kitchen, was so sudden and sharp I though I was going to be sick. I tried to imagine, if that was the top of your head, where your eyes would be, and shoulders. I then was reminded of the pants I came across yesterday. With your belt still on it. The last pair you would ever wear while alive on this earth. And then the picture I saw a few days ago. The one tucked in my nightstand drawer. The one that at some point after we split up you wrote on the old Polaroid picture and tucked it away for me to find (days after you passed). “Never forget me”. Not a chance Mike.
You are everywhere. In our thoughts, in our hearts and tangible pieces of you left behind.
I miss you. I miss watching you enjoy the sun on your face. I have never in my life seen anybody enjoy such a simple, everyday thing as if it were the best thing that has ever happened to them. I will never forget that tilted back head, eyes closed and dreamy smile. Seriously, I could draw it right now if I was asked.
It was a few minutes after seeing the “growth chart” I started to think about how, if you are so present here, will someone else fit in our lives? Is there room? I want to think yes, but it worries me that it is going to take such a strong, giving, compassionate, selfless person to handle a family that is still in love with and so very fond of (an albeit flawed) someone that has left this earth. Does that person exist?
While I figure that out, I hope you are feeling the sun on your face eternally…and none of the pain that you endured while you were here.
All my love.