They were right, I suppose. They, the experts and the experienced, said it would be this way.
They said that grieving would be mere survival during year ONE. "The year of firsts," they called it. First Thanksgiving, first Christmas. My first birthday without you to send me our favorite Pink Tuscanini roses. The first time I needed information that only you would know. There were more firsts than I care to remember. What a nightmare!
Then they said that year TWO would be the year I would wake up from the nightmare and realize that it's all real. This is it. This is how it's really going to be. Things are not going to return to normal, and things will never be the same.
Yes, year TWO was difficult. I just "didn't get it". It didn't make sense. You had been healthy as far as I knew. You never hurt anybody. So many people needed you. It was your time, and nothing on earth could have kept you here. Still, I just could not get my mind around the concept that God took you and left so many who seemed to possess no socially redeeming value.
At some point during year TWO, fortunately, I regained some focus. I come to realize that life is brief, and I wanted my life to make a difference.
I stepped out.
Yes, year THREE is exactly as they said it should be. Those waves of intense sadness still come, but the deep valleys are shorter and further apart than they were at first. Things still aren't the same, and they never will be the same, but times can be good again. Finally I can take all the erratic emotions and focus their energy into positive things. I think you see the positive from Where you are, and at times, I even feel you cheering me on.
Oh the times lately where I so wanted to tell you what's happening...
I bought some doggie clippers and let the girls here at the house give Barclay and Gilbert their summer cuts. Oh my, those dogs look pitiful! They're cool now, so I suppose that's what matters!
I'm letting my hair grow out. It's probably been since high school since it's been this long. You know Gequetta, right? Well, she still does my hair for me, and she always tells me I'm too old to have long hair. What do you think? The other day, I went in to let her touch up my roots and she said- can you believe this- "The next time you come in we're coloring your hair all over!" Why, I asked. "Because you've got gray hairs everywhere!" What!!! How many, Quetta? Get this....she announced right there in front of everybody, "There's too many to count!" Oh! I was mortified! But that's what makes a good friend and beautician, one who tells you the truth, right? I still think she's wrong about me being too old to have long hair....jealous.
I'm still going to the gym early in the mornings...most mornings, that is. I wish you could see some of those old Pawpaws in there. It would crack you up! There's this one old man, who, if he has asked me once, he has asked me 25 times, "Why don't they make a pill that exercises your muscles? They've got a pill for everything else!" Funny. He wears is gym shorts pulled up under his armpits, has his tight T-shirt tucked in, and has his tube socks pulled up tight nearly to his knees. He's dedicated...you've got to give him that!
What do you think of Michelle Obama? Oh wait, don't tell me. I'm sure I already know.
Yes, it's been THREE years today. I can hardly believe it. In some ways, it's all so new and fresh that it seems like only yesterday. On the other hand, it has been THREE very, very long years, so June 9, 2006 seems like forever ago.
I'm hoping that year FOUR will be a year to exhale. You know what I mean, right? So if you can pull some strings on your end, feel free.
I suppose you already do feel free. Indeed.
I love you and miss you.
Still want to be just like you!