So, the thing about grief is this, Grace. If anyone ever decides to tell you that grief ends after six months or one year, just tell them that's bullshit.
This week. This week the grief seems rather insurmountable. And it's not just about us, Grace. It's much bigger than that. This grief includes your tree, planted in your honor, in Shadle park, dying. When I walked through the park to check on your tree, it was dead. Zap. I could tell you it's because they moved it when they dug the hole for the new swimming pool, but it seems they moved about half a dozen trees. Yours died. The rest survived.
I could tell you my grief is about your 11yo brother being in a play and singing a solo onstage. And acting his big heart out. Grief? Why? Because he is no longer that 5yo boy terrified to leave my side and stand in front of any stranger whatsoever.
I could tell you that grief came in the form of my mother calling to tell me a close friend had died yesterday. Yes, he was in his 80s and perhaps it was his time. But I wasn't ready for it to be his time, and he died alone in his house, and I just can't get that image out of my head.
I could tell you that my grief is about my grandmother falling and no longer being able to live alone in her apartment, but needing to be moved first to a hospital and then into a convalescent home. And yes, she is 97 and perhaps well past her time, but I am not ready in any way for her to go. Not.
I could tell you that something physical happens to me over these next few days, something I cannot explain in words because my body knows, it just prepares itself for your birth and death, and time hangs in the air like some kind of Southern heat that closes in on you even in the middle of the night.
I could tell you that the sight of six year old girls preparing for the end of kindergarten and the beginning of first grade opens and closes me at the same time. Their height surprises me; their abilities confound me; and their beauty undoes me.
I could tell you all of this Grace, if you were here, but here instead is this undeniable longing, this yearning that weeks and months and years of distance will never remove because this space in my throat still tightens and this bruise on my heart still hurts and this need for you and longing aches unlike any other kind of injury I've sustained. And I will sustain it, and I will survive it, but the longing is there. The longing is here. Now. Today. Forever. Long.