It was only a year we knew each other, and even then, our interaction was minimal. I was, admittedly, shy, not knowing my place. You were large and in charge, and scared me a little bit. But I was starting to love him, and loving him included loving you. I thought we’d be family someday. I dreamed of a marriage, a little house, family get-togethers, little babies with his dark eyes, or maybe your light ones.
I remember the call I got from him, early one morning. His voice told me everything I needed to know. My mom asked me the tough question. "Are you ready to deal with this?" I had to be, I knew I had to be ready. He needed me. It was bad news, the worst news.
After that, the days were a blur. I wanted time to pass, to fast forward to happier times, when the wound was less raw. Not my wound directly, but because it was his, it was mine. I watched things change, I watched him change. He was left with a lot of unanswered questions.
I remember the day we talked, you and me, when I sat by your stone and told you all about myself. Things I should have said while you were here, things I wish you knew about me. Things I wish you knew about him. I made promises to you, and I don’t know if you heard me. It was like we’d never spoken before, and in a way, we hadn’t. My words seemed to hang in the air, in that spot sacred; in fact, the air was thick with words that people have been saying to stones for years. Never knowing if they’re heard. Never hearing back. I cried a lot of tears, selfish ones mostly, but some for the relationship we’d never have.
And even to this day, I wonder. Would you like me? Would you be proud of him? Would you love our babies, swing them up in the air, send them cards and love notes and little packages? Would you call every now and then just to hear their voices? One day they’ll know all about you, about your life, and about how you were taken away from them. They’re too young to know now, although I sometimes wonder if Owen doesn’t know more than we think.
I don’t know why I’m thinking about all of this, today any more than usual. Something in the wind, maybe. Or sometimes I catch a look in the face of my son, and I think of you. Your own son thinks of you, too, although he tends to brood and keep it inside. Is that something he got from you? I can’t know first-hand. Writing about it won’t fill any voids, and doesn’t give anyone any answers. But it balms, the remembering. There’s solace in memories, even if it’s holding hands with tragedy.
So I remember you today, and every day.