"Yes. Yes it does," he admits in a lower register than usual.
I don't care if I make it awkward. Jimmy's name is as common around my household as it ever was. I bring him up from time to time and so far the only downside is having Abby ask me if I'm crying because of "Uncle Jimmy" every time I blow my nose. Sometimes, Honey, it really is just a sneeze.
For the most part, I carry no weight of sadness on my shoulders. I no longer live through that day of hearing about him being gone over and over again like a loop of a YouTube video. I am able to function as a mom, wife, daughter, and friend. But other times, when I'm doing dishes or peeling carrots with my grandmother's vegetable peeler, I go there. And it's not always a bad thing.
When a favorite person of yours is no longer here to look forward to seeing, hugging, clinking glasses with, Instant Messaging, or just setting your eyes on, the world is on a forever tilt. The day you learn you can't be with him anymore is the day minutes shift and smush down onto a record that has a finite number of lines on the vinyl. And that feels right. Your mortality is in visual and that's alright too. It doesn't feel like a thing that is to be feared or guarded against but more like a fine tuning of your time left.
Yes, I wish I made it to his apartment for that drink we talked of having. No, I don't regret doubling back for that awkward conversation and even more awkward hug I gave in his driveway one summer day when his thoughts were elsewhere and his spirit was low. Yes, I want to climb through the clouds to hear him tell me if any of this dying business hurt and was he scared when he knew nobody was coming for him. Yes, my God yes, do I wish I could've been there for him like he has always been there for me. There would've been nothing to stop me from getting to him in time. Not. One. Damn. Thing. But that wasn't negotiable, nor is it worth any time spent in regret.
But, holy sh*t do the days show their palor and the conversations I have with others mark his absence like they should. I don't try as hard to make an impression because the one I wanted to impress is gone. Maybe there is freedom there. For some time later.
My world -this world- is missing someone so, so special and that's hard to get used to. It will always feel off, I think, and maybe that's just how it's going to be.
Our last Instant Message Conversation:
Jimmy: Hello my favorite niece. Just wanted to say thank you for your kind happy Father's Day greeting. I had a great day. Hope to see you soon and as a reminder, we both have a birthday coming up soon. Yours is joyfully anticipated, mine is being met with all the eagerness of attending a Dahmer family reunion.
Jimmy: Are you smiling? Hope so. Could not love you any more. oooxoxoxox Uncle Jimmy
February 10, 2013 5:05 pm
Erin: p'ville just sold again a few months ago. it was the highest sale in our neighborhood overall, awesome! i'm now "following" it on this site so i can find out when it goes on the market again. leave it to me to follow a house on the interwebs. maybe it has a twitter account? it totally should xoxo love you, uncle jimmy! xoxoxox
February 11, 2013 4:41 am
Jimmy: Awww....So exciting. We'll get that house back, yet! My biggest regret was letting it go.
Erin: No regrets, you had to. Boomps was still "in it" and holy moly as much as we love him, a ghost him would just be too much. We will ke track of it and maybe stak it until it's ready for us again. xoxo
*keep * stalk My editor is still asleep.
September 14, 2013 3:04 pm
Erin: Dear Jimmy, I miss you so much I can't stand it.