I woke up yesterday morning and my first thought, which is generally, "What was that thud?!" was instead, "Two years ago today was the last time I spoke to you." I have to admit, that might be the worst wake-up I've ever experienced. I guess I had assumed that the first year without you would be the hardest, but it would appear that this two-year anniversary of ours is proving to be the most difficult.
Words cannot express the emptiness I feel when the memories grab me. The pain is almost as fresh as the day I found you. Although in truth, this pain must be greater, as I have now grasped the realization that you are gone. I fight to keep these memories with me, but sometimes they hurt too much. Some days, like today, I want to forget, if only for a moment, so I can enjoy watching Deuce try and ride his bike without training wheels. (I hope you watched that hot mess from heaven. I know you would have laughed if you had been here.)
I do cherish these fleeting memories that sneak in when least expected. This morning, I suddenly remembered the picnic we shared at Norris Lake, sitting on a red and white table cloth. I believe I was about six. If I close my eyes tightly, I can still see you pulling the fried chicken out of the antique picnic basket you had gotten from your grandmother; a leg for each of us. I can feel the warmth of the sun; see the yellow marks on our hands from pressing the dandelions into our palms. I cannot remember the conversation we shared, but I'm sure it was hilarious. We always had a well-matched wit.
I think that is what I have missed the most these past two years. I miss our laughter. I miss our inside jokes that would anger Mams to the point of calling us "Assheads"...and the giggles that we shared for years over that. I miss being able to tell you the profanity that my sons were spouting and admitting that I told everyone they learned it from you. But I can still hear you say, "Dammit, Amy. Now I can never go to grandparents day!"
On my last trip to Knoxville, I stopped by your grave. I laid a rose there since I always brought you flowers.
The boys watched from a distance as I spoke softly to a piece of granite of how I miss you. They danced around the headstones, as kids do, to give us space. When I had said my peace, with tears streaming, Deuce came over and sat on my knee.
"Momma," he said in the softest voice a four year old can muster, "Do you miss Nana?" Looking him in the eyes, I said, "Yes, baby. I do miss her so very much." He looked down at the rose and said, "Momma, I wish I could bring Nana back." "Deuce, I would love to have her back, but she is in a much better place," I told him with my voice cracking. He put his soft little hand on my cheek, brushed a tear away and said, "Momma, I miss Nana more than you." Smiling, I asked, "Baby, do you remember Nana?" Deuce grinned and said, "Nope." Then ran off to play.
It was at that moment I realized, thankfully, that Deuce has our sense of humor.
I love you, forever.