It’s been 6 months since you died, and I can still smell your lotion in the air on warm summer nights.
I’ve stopped feeling consistently melancholy about you being gone and have settled into a feeling of appreciation for the things you did for me that neither one of us understood at the time.
When my appendix nearly burst a few months ago, you were the only thing that kept me calm before my operation.Now, neither one of us knew that would happen to me. But, you had two knee replacements, two hip replacements, two heart attacks, cancer, two spinal fusions…
I could go on.
And I remember how happy you were to see me, no matter what.
There’s one time I remember specifically. I’d flown in from Florida to stay with you and Papa for the summer, and Papa had to pick me up from the airport. You were in bed with food poisoning (although looking back, it probably was your gallbladder). Either way, you were fucking sick. You didn’t want to get out of bed, and when you did, it was to rush to the bathroom.
I made you a bowl of white rice with butter and salt, and you sat and ate with me, smiling and lightly laughing. I could see sweat beading on your forehead as you ate, as if it physically hurt you to do so. But, you ate the rice, and you said I made you feel better.
This is the longest I have ever gone without seeing you. I’ve never experienced this long of an absence from you.
I’m doing really well, Grammy.
I have a job I adore, and I’m really good at it.
My friends are the center of my world. They’re my family.
My husband. He’s my partner. We’re seeking new adventures and sleeping under the stars.
Mom, Papa, Tracy…they’re doing so well. You’ve gotta be proud. I can’t believe their resilience.
I talk to you a lot. Do you hear me? Sometimes I feel silly doing so, because I don’t know what I believe in. God? Afterlife?Reincarnation?
That last one is the most likely to me.
Last week I was pretty sure you were this beautiful moth living in our apartment.
You came to me first in the laundry basket, then flew off somewhere down the hallway. I couldn’t find you, but days later, there you were in the kitchen, quietly nested in a wooden bowl that matched your wings.
You let me softly pluck you from the bowl and bring you to the back porch.
Why didn’t you fly away? You stayed on my finger for a while, feeling my skin with your feelers.
Then, off you went.
A few days ago, Emily spotted a beautiful butterfly in our office. Again, I took you outside and let you rest on the leaves, but you didn’t want to get off my hand.
Can you be two different insects? Can you be one at all?
Honestly, I don’t know. And I don’t care.
You are these beautiful moths and butterflies and lightning bugs, and you are the shopping cart at TJ Maxx that moved down the aisle on its own. And you are the white pigeon living on your roof. And you are that really great smell I catch in the summer wind at night.
I miss you. I feel you everywhere. I hope, more than anything, that I never stop feeling you.
I love you Grammy. Come visit me soon. I’m keeping an eye out for your wings.