It is seventeen weeks today, since you left us. It seems like yesterday that you were here. I am reminded of your sayings and your ways, many times throughout the day, and always they make me smile. You had a unique way of expressing yourself, and such a refreshing perspective on the world. I remember many winter nights, waking up to find you perched on a chair at the window, on ‘snow patrol’. You told me that, when you were little, you used to cry when the snow melted, because you loved it so much. You used to marvel at the fact that each snowflake had a different design.
This morning, on my march toward the train station, my mind resisting the piercing rain, I could hear you telling me that the leaves had been thirsty, and were so happy to finally get a drink, that they were dancing in it. And that we should thank the rain, like them. I pictured you, wherever you are, doing your little dance move, welcoming the rain.
I spend less time, these days, reviewing the actual day of your death. It was painful for me to replay it, over and over—wishing I had made more effort to comfort you, that day, to tell you how much I cared, to assure you I would help you through the grief of losing Gavin, wishing I had been able to save you—wishing I had known. Grief experts call this the “if onlys”. It is a common thread for those of us who are grieving, in the aftermath of such great loss. We agonise over lost opportunities. We blame ourselves. It is a torturous place to be. And it feels better, for the moment, to have moved on from that sad state.
Today, I find myself thinking of the immediate future, with a touch of fear and dread—wondering how I will get through the date of our second anniversary, November 17th, past Christmas, through New Year’s Eve. No arguments, this year, over my wanting to watch all the silly, sentimental holiday movies you despised, no tussle over decorations and whether or not to put up a tree. Even though I could now do it without complaint, I can’t imagine decorating a tree this year. It would feel vulgar, somehow, to participate in all the celebration and excess.
As the days without you stretch into weeks and months, I search for ways to preserve your memory. I have ordered a bench to be placed at the summit of Monks Road, where your ashes will be scattered. I have looked through your pictures for the right ones to use as Christmas gifts. I have kept your dressing gown hanging on the back of our door. They feel empty and meaningless, these paltry reminders of your presence on this earth. But it is all I have. And it will have to be enough.