It's not like I go about my days mopey and dejected.
It's just that my heart reminds me, in quiet times when the light is yellow or when leaves skitter across the street like children, I have a choice. When that swell begins, I can choose to either accept or deny.
I make that choice every time depending on whether I'm wearing eye-makeup, meeting a friend for tea, or running into Kmart for conditioner. Yes, I fell off the conditioner wagon. Sometimes I choose to deny and go forward with imaginary moose horns leading the way. Those days are good. I am an excellent forgetter.
Other times, when my kids are gone and my husband is at work, I accept.
Like an invitation, I accept the hurt of remembering. The chance to once again hold memories dear. To let the curling ache surge through my bones at the loss of what I can barely believe, almost a year later, that he's in heaven.
We talked about it often. Heaven. What goes on. Who's already there. Is Boompa running away from Boomps as they both trip over themselves toward a fancy ballroom? Do we get to watch our lives, the good parts, on a screen in a leather-bound lounger with cats on our laps and limitless popcorn? Will we get to choose again?
The morning he passed, I tried to call him to ask his thoughts, again, on heaven. I wish I were kidding. Did he believe you had to certain things here before getting to see our loved ones again? Did he feel the same way I did about all the rules and regulations? Do people walk this earth as separate strands of one immensely powerful source of light? Does this light gain strength through compassion?
I tried to call him as I drove through Starbucks to get my friend an iced-vanilla latte. Watching all the people staring at their phones in an attempt to connect to their brighter, bigger, happier source of light. Hundreds of small lights, roaming in close range to one another without once making eye contact. Seemingly blinded by the fact that eye contact is the only way in.
I didn't connect with him that morning but instead connected with his son, about a concert. About music.
The minutes of that day are a movie-reel; I play them over and over in my mind. So many parallels. Too many coincidences to be accidents. My thoughts always goes back to the strangers I saw that afternoon at Starbucks milling together, but light years apart. I cared so much to understand each of them. That day. That day.
The many layers of unconditional love are revealed to me through missing him. And denying myself that would be denying myself answers I meant to ask him that afternoon; when he was already gone.
So now, when I accept that invitation to hurt, to ache, and yes, sometimes to cry useless tears, there is sadness but now I notice something else riding shotgun. I'm not sure what it is because it's new. We haven't known each other long. For now, I'll call it privilege. I feel the invitation to miss him is a privilege.
It is a privilege to shed tears for anyone we miss. To deny ourselves the right to acknowledge their specific strand of light does not feel right. I think we are meant to recognize those who bring us goodness, laughter, depth of character, and soul. We are meant to pull them from the throngs of people just cruising at altitude to honor their spirit loudly and with sh*loads of confetti.
Those opportunities to accept losses are allowing me to connect with my brighter, bigger, happier, eventual source of light. And who the hell am I to decline that kind of beautiful invitation.
Last Friday, I made a selfish request to hear from him. That afternoon I received nada, except a cryptic note from a handsome elderly man about Elvis. So creepy. Yet sweet. Very confusing.
This morning. I was in search of something when I came across this card.
It's an old birthday from Jimmy to me. Since I was little, he called me "Nooskie-Boo." Thirty some years old and I was still his Nooskie-Boo.
See what I mean? An absolute privilege to keep them close, even through the pain of losing them too soon.