Nine years ago, this was my last day with you. I didn't know it; had no way of knowing. Part of me wishes I had known, because I had so many things I would have said. Part of me thinks knowing would have been no more bearable. Because as the hours, the minutes, the seconds ticked away on my last moments with you I would have been wishing for more, wishing for them to last and last, just a few seconds more.
I miss you. I miss you every single day without fail.
It's so strange to live with this huge part of me and my life missing. Some days it seems like a vast emptiness next to me. Because all I want is one more hug, one more word, one more anything to get me through. When I'm sad or upset or scared or confused, I wonder what you would say to me. When I'm happy or excited, I just wish I could hear you say you're proud of me, or you're happy for me.
Some days it feels like I would give anything, absolutely anything, just to have time with you again. But then I think I would give anything for a day. Then anything for a couple hours, or an hour, for ten minutes. I would give everything for any amount of time with you again, but no amount of time would be enough if I knew it had to end.
I love you. I loved you then, I love you still, I love you always. But now I realize, more than ever, how much you loved me. I realize how much that means and how much that shaped me. Growing up, I was lucky enough to experience unconditional, sacrificial love. Not only to experience it, but to know it. To know it in my deep happiness. Because even when everything was scary and going wrong, and there were certainly those moments, I felt safe. I didn't want anything else. I didn't want to leave home. I see it so much clearer now. When I see other people, other parents, other children. Above all else, I had love.
I miss you. I wish I could tell you all the things I need to tell you. But I have to believe that you know them.
I learned something in one of my classes last year. Something that astonishes me.
The brain chemistry for grief and withdrawal is extremely similar. Physical responses are similar, emotions are similar, it's all similar.
I love you.
Did you know that I still wear the ring you gave me? Valentine's Day of first grade. I took it off once, to get it re-sized. It's now on my left hand, on my ring finger. Sometimes I think about would I would do if I were to get married. Where would I wear it? I don't think about it that much, but now I look at it and think about the kind of love that would convince me to move that ring. It's like a reminder of the kind of love I should wait for to let into my life.
I'm so lucky to have had you in my life; I'm so lucky to have your memory with me for the rest of it. I will always know I am loved, because no matter where you are now, I know you love me. If I ever have children, they're going to know love that is a by-product of the love you had for me.
Tomorrow is going to be a rough day. Because not only will I miss you, but I'll miss you more, and the memory of that day and the days that follow, they are so vivid and still so heartbreaking.
I miss you. I'll always miss you. But I love you, and I am so thankful for that love.