Every night that I go to bed and say my prayers (which isn’t every night because real talk – sometimes I fall asleep in the middle or before I start) I pray for the regular cast of characters – my mom, my siblings, The Ethiopian etc. but I also pray for my ex-boyfriend who died a couple of years ago, as well as his mom. I guess, when I think about it – it’s weird to pray for someone who’s dead because if you believe in that kind of thing – they’re already in God’s care, but he was always a mainstay in my prayers and taking him out feels wrong. So, I pray.
The last few nights I asked in my prayers that God remind me to call his mom – I like to stay in touch with her and his death has been this tremendous thing that has really brought her life to a standstill in a lot of ways. Of course, God is not Siri and I should have just set myself a reminder to call her but I didn’t. And yesterday as I was driving home from work, singing along to Jennifer Lopez – a car pulled into my lane and I looked up and there were his initials.
I’m not someone who is overly religious or even overly spiritual but I try to listen when the universe speaks and it felt like a gentle hello and also a reminder to make that phone call I’d yet to make. And so I did and it was nice. She always sounds so happy to hear from me and it’s nice to be able to talk about him in a way that doesn’t end in tears for either of us.
It still feels incredulous to think about the reality of it all. That he was here and then he wasn’t. To go from speaking to him to speaking about him in the past tense. I owe a lot of who I am to the person that he was and I just never want to forget that.
I thought about you and I felt the breath catch in my lungs. Time has been good to me, almost too good – I sometimes feel guilty that I’m not impossibly sad that you’re not here anymore. I sometimes say your name just to hear it – it is bittersweet.
I think about your smile. I think about your laugh. I think about how you let me down. I think about how angry you could make me. I think about your ability to love in spite of. I think about those last minutes; how you were here and then you weren’t anymore.
Yeah, I know life ain’t fair but sometimes the cruelty of it all is almost too much to bear.
To try to make sense of it all would be foolish – I don’t have the answers or the strength to figure it all out. I’m guessing I never will.
I remember how you would tell me that you didn’t really care that much for Christmas because I broke up with you during that time. I could never tell if you were saying it to make me feel bad (I did) or if you really felt that – ruining Christmas for someone is kind of awful. I remember that later we (I?) kind of laughed about it – I wish I’d handled that better.
I texted with your Mom this week – she visits your grave quite often and she makes you the most beautiful flower arrangements. She always sends pictures and she calls me by that name that only the two of you ever did & it always makes me smile. Sometimes she sends me emails & I read them in her voice & imagine reading them to you and laughing.
Time keeps moving, almost too fast. There’s so much I’d love to call and tell you. Sigh. Merry Christmas.
In a haphazard moment, you come rushing to the front of my mind. I try not to think about you too long because inevitably that means tears. I want so badly to replace those tears with smiles and the good stuff but memories don’t really work like that. They do their own thing – steal your joy, take your breath and knock you to your knees. Memories, they can be jerks.
Sometimes I feel regret, usually it’s paired with a giant helping of guilt. I always wanted better for you. Better for me. Better for us. And I know better. I know this is not what I’m supposed to think or feel. I know that what came to pass was better for me and ultimately I’d hoped it would be better for you.
I text your Mom instead of calling her because when I hear her voice my heart feels like it’s on fire. Today she told me that the woman who loved you after me has a new boyfriend and has for quite some time. I wish I were the kind of person who could take that piece of information, shelf it & never think about it again – but I’m not. I know everyone has to go on but I’ll be honest – I’m judging that she did it so soon.
I miss you all the time. I’m happy though, except when I’m not :) I know you can’t hurry healing but I want to be in that space where every time that I speak your name, it fills me with joy. I want to be better. For you. For me.
Buried underneath a new issue of Entertainment Weekly and a bill I can wait to open was a letter from your Mom. Her handwriting a swirl of blue loops and curls just like I remembered it. I made an offhand remark about the fact that she’d written me a letter and then tucked it back where I’d found it because I was scared to read it. I don’t know exactly what I was thinking it might say but the threat of sadness made me stick it back.
I finally opened it two, maybe three days later when I had finally steeled myself against the contents. Your Mom, she’s sweet. She misses you a lot, more than anyone on this enormous planet & she’s been making sure to check in, making sure that I don’t fade into obscurity. Part of me is grateful for that and part of me wishes that her affection didn’t immediately remind me that you’re gone. I’m wondering when that part goes away or if it ever does.
I’m pretty sure the same day she woke up to write that letter was the day I sat at my desk at work and wrote you a tearful letter. I’ve yet to tell her that every time she texts me it’s always a day when you’ve been heavy on my mind. I don’t know if she’d think that was sweet or try to communicate with me less. I don’t ever want her to think that I’m trying to forget you. I’m not, I won’t, I can’t.
I suppose that I’ll write her a letter back. Maybe this is the best for both of us.