Today is your 84th birthday. Or, it would be if you were still here. You've been gone now for 219 days. I keep thinking it will get easier, but it hasn't.
Sure, there are days where it doesn't cross my mind as frequently and when I'm almost able to forget that you won't be here to witness some pretty big moments in our lives. But then it all comes crashing back to me and before I realize it, I'm driving down the road with tears streaming down my face and a lump in my throat that feels like it will burn a hole in me before I'm able to swallow it down. That's when I think of you most - on my long drives back and forth to Galveston. I can only listen to the same songs on the radio for so long before I have to turn them off and that's when my mind begins to wander.
I wonder if you know all these things, if you're aware of how I feel. I wonder if you watch down on us as we go through our lives. I hope you're here, but I don't feel your presence. I talk to you all the time, hoping and praying that I'll hear your voice again, knowing that it isn't possible.
Speaking of your voice, I have two of your old voicemails stored on my phone. I listened to them one day when I transferred everything over to my new phone, almost in a panic when I didn't know how to move them, afraid that I would lose your voice forever. I must have replayed them twenty times apiece, over and over again. But since then I can't bring myself to listen to them. I would give anything to hear you call me "Prissy Britches" one more time. To hug you so tightly that I'd never let go.
I worry about Grandmother in that house alone. Patrick (and Sophie) moved out a few weeks ago so she's all alone there and it worries me. Does she wake up and for a split second forget that you're gone, only to have to relive the horror of your death all over again? Does she sometimes call out to you only to remember that you aren't there? How do you live with someone, grow with someone, rely on someone for 60 years of marriage and one day they're gone forever? Does she talk to you the way that I do? I can't bring myself to ask her these questions and truthfully, I'm scared that the answers may break my heart even more. I can't handle that.
What if something similar happens to her and no one is around? I wish I knew you were watching over her so that couldn't happen.
I'm getting married in 224 days. You were supposed to give me away. I don't know what I'll do on my wedding day, and I don't mean the logistics of who will walk me down that aisle. I'm afraid the reality that you aren't there will hit me and completely debilitate me, send me into a crying mess that no hair or makeup can repair. And I don't want such a beautiful day to be ruined, but in some ways it already is because you won't be there. You were the one that B called to ask permission before proposing. How can I do this without you by my side?
I started nursing school in May. I'm doing well and I love it. I wish I could talk to you about it. I know that you would be so proud of me. I have so many hours I spend back and forth in the car that I wish I could spend talking to you.
Do you know all these things I'm telling you? Are you aware of what's going on in our lives here? Do you know about how we all basically fell apart and had to learn to put ourselves back together since you died? So many things have happened - Natasha and Emily had their baby, Christine called off the wedding, David decided that law school was not where he belonged, I quit teaching, David moved back to Austin, I started nursing school, Nancy had her baby, Patrick and Claire moved in together. It's only been 7 months and yet so much has changed. How much more will continue to change without you being here for it all?
I miss you. I think I miss you as much today as the first day. I don't know if that will ever change. But today, on what would have been your birthday, it is that much harder. I feel like a coward, but I'm thankful that I have 12 hour day at clinical today because I don't know how to talk to Mom and Grandmother on your birthday. It certainly won't have escaped their minds, much like it hasn't escaped mine. Selfishly, I hope that I can make it through my clinicals with so much going on that I don't have time to just stop and think, to allow my mind to wander.
I want today to happen on fast-forward.
I'd like every July 27th from here forward to just disappear.
I love you, Grandpa. Happy Birthday.
|July 27, 1929 - December 19, 2012|