A Year Gone By


One year you've been gone. It didn't hit me right away today. But I woke kind of melancholy. I stayed in bed longer than usual. I took the dog for a walk, and then it hit me, one year has gone by. And the flood gates opened. I walked and cried and forgot to pick up the poop because I was thinking about how much I miss you and how happy I am that you are free. I retraced my steps to pick up the poop. And laughed a little at myself. You would have laughed too, we always laughed no matter how bad things were or how broken down your body was at the end. On that walk I was reminded of the love that we shared. The greatest love of my life to date. I've taken a few stabs at romantic love in the past year. A handful of misses. And I realized on that walk, in thinking about us; if your love is the only great love I ever know, I am blessed. But deep down I know there is more for me, I'm patiently waiting. 

I swam in the ocean in your honor tonight, at dusk, my favorite time of day. It is the same spot I always ran to when you were alive; to process, to mourn, to think about you and conversations we had and the books that I read to you. That beach is my therapy and tonight its water held me as I floated and my heart hurt with missing you. Floating, weightless, I watched geese in flight, skimming the water. I listened to the waves pull at the sand upon their retreat after lapping the beach. I saw the fire in the sky and felt you burn inside of me. 

A little over a month ago we brought you home to Oregon, like we promised. Mom carried your ashes across the country on a plane from Boston to Portland. A sobering closure. Turns out, cremains are are a TSA red flag. She kept her sense of humor about it. We all stood in the kitchen of the Airbnb we rented in Bend, listening to her tell the story of the cremains security search, laughing. Two days later, we caravanned to The Steens Mountains, fifteen of us gathered to honor your last wish of going home to those mountains. Together, we dug our hands into what was left of you and let you slip through our fingers, carried away by the wind. I have never felt so grateful to be a part of the family that you created as I did in those moments in those mountains. A swallow followed us as we moved through three vista points where we left you. The swallow is said to carry souls to heaven. And although I know you were already there, in your own heaven, I also felt you there in the mountains with us. I felt you in the wild flowers, in the juniper laced air, in the red dirt, and even in the jets that flew over head just as we were leaving, tipping their wings in your honor. Magical was the experience of letting you go, back to the earth where you belong. 

I'll use losing you as a reference to my life well lived year to year. I tend to live fast and hard, just like I love....I'm working on the balance there. I wear your fingerprint engraved in silver around my neck every day. You continue to be my protection. I've got so much of your spirit in me; I want my life to be an adventure, and I want to make every moment count, which is why I swam in the ocean tonight to honor you instead of laying in bed under my covers. You were my connection to the earth and the stars; my roots and wings. Your spirit continues to live through me. Your last words of "I love you" still give me comfort when I need it most. Each day I try to see myself as you saw me, with unconditional love, your love lives in me.