You died on a Friday. It was warm and sunny outside, and as I looked out the window of your hospital room, I’d see traffic streaming past on the highway interchanges. I was surprised the drivers weren’t slowing down to pay tribute to you. They didn’t pull over to acknowledge how significantly changed our lives would be. They didn’t recognize the massive shift in the universe that was happening. Life just went on for them.
But life stopped for you. And I was afraid it had stopped for us, too.
You died on the Friday before Labor Day. The kids started school four days later, and except for taking a break on the day of the funeral, they insisted on keeping up with their friends and their classes.
Life didn’t stop for them.
Piper has modeling shoots. She goes to school and takes weekend modeling classes. She goes to work and spends time with friends. She weeps and aches for you and wakes me up in the middle of the night to say, “I miss Daddy.” She asks, “Why didn’t I hug him more when he was alive?” She visits art museums and goes to the Heights to see old movies.
She turned 18 without you.
Sam is going to be a pirate in “Peter Pan and Wendy.” He has four great lines and a “spectacular death!” They perform on your birthday. He ran away the other night and walked for hours in the dark. He walked to your old mini-golf course that was torn down and to the duck pond where you two fed the ducks. He walked to the soda shop where you played arcade games together. He’s been golfing with Dave and William; playing chess with Pastor Carl on Wednesdays. He filmed a few little movies that makes us laugh really hard. He hangs out with friends.
Today he got his braces on!
Their lives didn’t stop.
And while it feels like it should, life won’t stop for me, either.
In the last two months since you died, I’ve been overwhelmed with so much gratitude. I’m not grateful that you died, but I’m grateful that you lived. I’m grateful you loved me.
I’m grateful you and I had two beautiful children who are emulating you. She surprises me by cleaning the kitchen. The other day he walked to the store and used his allowance money to buy milk because we’d run out.
They check in on each other and ask, “You need anything?” They check in on me to see if I’m sad. They pretend to laugh when I’m trying to be funny. They tell me I’m pretty. They bring me tissues and hug me when I cry. They act like you.
Our lives didn’t stop. And I guess, neither did yours.
You continue in them.
But we still miss you.