Here's the thing I forget every year.
Every year, May arrives and every year my body changes. It shifts, it leans, it pines, it mourns. And for the first few days, I walk around in a fog forgetting, but recognizing that I am becoming someone other than my self. Only I still am my self.
And there it is then.
The end of May comes, and I am crazed, crazy, wild, an animal let loose in the desert, the wrong sort of desert, and you are still gone, and I am that animal all alone lashing out at the world, lashing out at my family, hiding from my friends.
And here it is.
June comes, and my body sighs deeply. My head lifts slowly out of the fog. I become functional again and present in the world. In fact, sometimes I become more present, more focused, more determined than ever before to do something right rather than doing all the things wrong as I seem to have done for the last few weeks.
This time though, Grace, this year has been a year. I think it has to do with my father. With turning 42 and then again turning 43. With growing older than my father ever had a chance to do.
And it has to do with the one-year anniversary of my grandmother's death passing with hardly anyone out there noticing, with no phone calls from family, with no shared conversations.
With no sharing among family now broken and separated by distances and by emotions and by too much time having passed.
And it has to do with all the first graders lined up this year, every day outside of the classroom at your sister's new school. First graders are all day school participants now. First graders are shy and nervous and excited and silly and loving and full of wonderment. And each time I see those first graders lined up, I see a gap, I see a hole, I feel the ache. I see you missing among them.
And so this year, Grace, has been a year filled with longing, filled with confusion, filled with still missing you.
Your anniversary comes and your anniversary passes.
And I am still here.
You are still gone.
You are still the one that matters.
And you are still love.
That's what it really becomes then, Grace: you become love. My love for you continues to amaze and frighten me. My love for you continues to confound me. My love for you continues to grow.
And in that love, I can find hope.
And with that love, I can find healing.
And because of that love, I am still.
no matter what death has decided to take away.
Your presence continues to matter.