If you know,
then you know,
that you know.
It was the 29th time that the day of her birth had come around following her death. Nothing much seems to have changed over the past few years. At least on the inside.
I kept busy that day, working moving dirt and readying the planter boxes in the greenhouse for planting. It was a beautiful sunny spring day.
And then out of the blue it hit me.
The memories I hold so dear were of a young girl in her mid-twenties. In the fullness of life, with dreams of the future, until the last few months when the sickness began to overtake her. But this day it is the year 2022.
She would have turned 57 years old.
Just typing the words seems surreal. I will turn 58 later this year so it tracks mathematically. But the heart knows nothing of numbers, only images stored in the mind and carried forever.
And I have no idea what she would look like were she alive today.
I have aged, gray hairs shining through my blonde curls. My whiskers when I let them grow are tinged with silver and the lines at the corners of my eyes and on my forehead are tell tale signs of the years that have passed.
But in my mind she is still that young girl.
In the prime of her young life, long brown hair, and sparkling blue eyes. The ravages of time had not yet made their mark as they do to us all that are blessed to live for many years. My mind is swirling.
I cannot picture her as 57 year old woman.
So, I wonder at this. Another wave of grief and loss assaults’ me. I feel as I if I have lost her again. For a second time, no a third time… hell I have lost count of how many times over the ensuing years.
I live on with memories from long ago.
I am happy. I have moved forward with a wonderful wife and daughter. And yet, I have watched my daughter grow into a teenager, and my wife has aged as have I. And my memories of her are frozen in time.
She has never aged.
Is that a good thing or a bad thing? She never got the pleasure of enjoying more of life. Of family and friends. Even the aches and pains of a body that is worn and tired from a life lived fully.
But maybe, just maybe she did.
I smile, my heart is happy because in her almost 28 years of life, she lived every moment fully. She was alive, even at the end when the cancer racked her body, when everything hurt and I stood holding her hand to the end of our journey together.
I carry the grief and loss, right alongside my joy and happiness.
PS – You can read more of my story of grief, loss, healing and life after in my memoir Cowboys Are Not Supposed to Cry, available on many online platforms. I use my experience to coach others struggling with grief and moving forward from loss, let me know and we’ll schedule a 15 minute intro call to see if I can help. God bless, ~M