November 11, 2021
Yesterday was the day LuAnn’s and my beloved Jim was born. He would have been 40 years old. Today was the day he died. It’s been 16 years.
I can say died now. I couldn’t say that in the beginning. Not for a long time. I avoided that word. That reality. I’d say, he passed away or he slipped out of our lives or even, God took him from us. But not, died.
I can say that now.
When I tell someone, it’s been 16 years, I often add, “But it still feels like it was yesterday.” It doesn’t. I don’t know why I continue to say that because it doesn’t still feel like that.
I remember all too well what it felt like when it was yesterday. I remember that indescribable numbing pain. That crushing emptiness that took my breath away and all but stopped my heart. I remember that.
It’s not like that anymore for me.
I don’t cry every day like I did that first month. It’s been a long time since I’ve been seized by that uncontrollable sobbing or that hysterical wailing the way I was in those early days and nights and weeks.
I still choke up when I talk about Jim and I still get tears in my eyes when I recall a favorite memory or when I realize another memory has faded.
But I don’t cry much. Not like I used to.
It’s different for me now, 16 years after. The pain, the grief, the loss, the fear, the anger. It’s different. Better, I guess. I never thought it would ever get better. But it has.
As the years have passed my love for my boy has taken root in my soul. Jim has settled deep in my heart and mind. My memories of him have sunk down into my bones. And I hold him now, as the poet said, with “thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.”
All of that is true. But no sooner will I publish these words, something will happen that will wrench out that first raw pain and plunge me back into that debilitating grief and my soul will once again, still, 16 years later, weep and wail.
And all of that will be true too. God bless you, Jim. Your mom and I love you. Your brothers and sister love you. We always will. We miss you. We all still miss you so much.