What I Didn't Say

There are some things that I want to say. I'm not sure how to say them -- and I'm quite sure that I'm not going to say them all that well. I don't like that I'm saying them here. But, in at least one of the circumstances, I want it to arrive sooner rather than later. And you are reading. I know you are.

We didn't talk about it. You're right. I'm not sure when that would have happened though I wish that it had. Maybe the words don't need to said. After all, we both know that there's nothing that either one of us can say or do that will make this particular moment in time hurt any less. And yet, I'm in the habit of writing letters. It's what I do every year and it's rare to find a friend to know the depth of the grief I feel so well. So, dear friend, I'm writing you a letter because it's what I do. It happens that it appears on my blog. Technology. Bleh.

I wish I could wave a magic wand for you and make all of the pain and hurt disappear. I wish that your last memory didn't interfere with your celebration on other days. Still, I know what that's like. The last time I saw my mom I fed her chocolate ice cream. She was the color of the hospital sheets. She was too tired to eat -- but I was just a kid and didn't understand why she wasn't eating the ice cream. (The fact that she wasn't even eating lunch might have been a clue.) I thought she should eat that chocolate ice cream. So, I fed it to her. You already know that I don't eat chocolate ice cream now. It stands in for some memory so that it's impossible to enjoy. Plus, I don't think you should ruin good chocolate by putting it in ice cream but that's another matter. I know how much those last moments sting. I know that there aren't enough words to take those moments away because -- as awful as it is -- it's all we have left. We only have the memories. We don't have the stories of who she will be in the future. I don't think that ever gets easier.

I don't think you ever really figure out how to move on. I don't think you ever stop wanting to pick up the phone to tell her what just happened. I don't think that ever goes away. That's what makes it sweet though. That's what makes that relationship powerful. There's something about it that carries on. Beyond all assumptions. Beyond our imaginations. It's still there. Damn anyone that says otherwise. You and I, dear friend, know differently.

In our shared faith, we don't do a good job with the concept of missing someone. Jesus comes back when the tears are barely dry. Paul insists that this life is just a stopover. Both bug me. I flip back to the Torah and read about the Promised Land. I don't know what that is but I know it's a place where your tears and mine are wiped away, where we're held and loved through the things we don't dare understand. (Yes, I know I flipped back to the New Testament. I am a Christian. It happens.) I don't think that these visions make the pain disappear. They just make it possible to survive -- and that's all we're trying to do. We're trying to survive. Oh yes. I know. You want more than that. You want to live joyfully. You want to praise with the limbs formed in her womb. You want to reach beyond this pain and find her mysteriously, wonderfully still there. I know. She is.

I can see her in you. I won't go all e. e. cummings on you. I'll just reference it and remind you that I'm here. Holding you. Knowing it hurts. Trying to understand the things that neither one of us do.  And then, having more wine. And cheese. Love you.