Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Joy & Loss

Dear Rachel,

Looking at the date of my last post, I was going to say that it’s been a long time since I’ve spoken to you. But that’s not true, really. I speak to you always… I talk to you when I awake in the morning and when I lie down to sleep at night. My thoughts turn to you throughout the day—when I should be writing a column or editing an article, I find myself thinking of you, missing you, instead.

I guess that’s just how it’ll always be.

We’re getting ready to go to Virginia Beach on Friday for Shaylyn’s birthday party. (There’ll be a huge crowd; she is, after all, Virginia’s smartest and cutest four-year-old.) This will be another one of those bittersweet visits, of course. I love seeing Shay-Shay, your mom, great-grandparents Pat & Elaine, your old friends, Debbie’s old friends, a zillion other four-year-olds from Shaylyn’s school and all the others. And Shaylyn’s Aunt Amy will be there, too!

But you won’t be there, except in our memories. Debbie’s rambling old house is alive with memories of you. Pictures of you on the walls (including the beautiful graduation photos you never even got to see), Wizard of Oz trinkets and memorabilia from your collection, stacks of cards and letters that arrived before and after your funeral.

So, as much as there is to enjoy, there’s also so much to remind us of what we’ve lost. And the joy will be over in a few hours, and the loss will go on forever.