I dialed his phone number even though I knew he wouldn’t answer. I just had to hear his voice. I hadn’t told anyone, but I did that several times a day since he’d been gone. But then one day, an automated voice told me the number had be disconnected. His voice was trapped in cyber space somewhere unable to comfort me any longer. I’ll tell you what, sometimes in the heat of an emergency I forget and nearly dial his number. I bet it’s been reassigned now. Maybe now the number houses the voice of someone else’s emergency contact. But it’s not mine anymore. It won’t ever be mine ever again.
We miss him, you know? Generally and specifically. We’re constantly reminded of ways he would help and we curse that he’s gone. Things are so much harder than they need to be without him here. I mean it. I wish we realized how simple things were with him around when he was around. I bet we wouldn’t have taken advantage of him so. But you know what? I think he liked it. He liked to feel needed. And you know what? He was. He really truly was. And he still is, every single day.
I’m talking about a man who was who he didn’t have to be. He was everything to my family. He was the handy man. He was the psychologist. He was the mechanic. He was the mediator. He was our friend. He was our everything. And the day he died, part of us died too. And that part inside of us aches all the time. Losing someone with whom you shared such a special relationship never stops hurting, you know. The days get better, easier maybe. But it doesn’t ever stop. It doesn’t ever go away. It’s not like a virus that will run it’s course. Grief is terminal, and there is no cure.
So we remember him fondly. That’s how we cope. We tell his stories and laugh with tears that streak our faces: a common reaction to his memory; laughter and tears.
He’s always on our minds, but sometimes he’s more dominant than others. The last few weeks, he’s been right there…front and center in my life. Because this week I reached for his phone number, but I knew he wouldn’t answer. And he always answered. I didn’t get his voicemail once until the day he died. Not once.
It’s been close to three years, and I still cry like I did the day we lost him sometimes. Like I’ve lost him all over again. Sometimes I grow angry thinking about how unfair it is that it was him and not someone, anyone, else.
I’m forever thankful and grateful for the years we had with him. For all his help. For all he taught us. But it makes it that much harder now that he’s gone. He was there, always there. He never let us down. He never disappointed. People like him are so so very rare, and it’s so hard for me to understand sometimes why he’s gone. But maybe we all needed to learn to live without our crutch. Maybe we all needed to be a little stronger.
We are all stronger because of him. We are. But sometime our strength melts into tears when we think about him. But I do thank God every single day of my life that every single day of his life he was who he didn’t have to be.