Today. What do I say today?
It's been five years and an eternity since we said goodbye... Since I sat beside you and held your warm hand. Five years since I watched my brother crumple to the floor... Since I looked across your bed at my sister holding your other hand and saw my pain alive in her eyes. Five years since I whispered, "It's okay, it's okay. Oh Dad, it's okay..." while you took your last breath.
And look. Look how five years and an eternity can feel like five minutes ago.
Time and memories are strange things. Sometimes I feel like you were here only yesterday. I feel you so close that I could almost reach out and touch you, I could look over beside me and you'd be on my couch tickling one of the boys.
Other times you are so far away it seems unbelievable that you were ever here at all. It seems like eternity since we were that lucky. That happy. That sure that we had our whole lives to hug you, and tell you about our days, and buy you presents. Man, I miss buying you presents! Isn't that a strange thing to miss? Oh, but I miss it. Sometimes it's the thing I miss most of all. I miss picking out something special for you. I miss the kids drawing pictures for you. I miss knowing that you'd take those things and hang them on your walls, and keep them in your boat, and eat them watching TV. I don't know why it hurts so much that I can't give you presents anymore, but it really does.
You were the funnest to share things with. It didn't matter what it was, but if we shared it with you, it was better. How did you do that? How did you make a Rider's game more exciting? How did you make hot dogs in the back yard a special event? How did you make church in the morning feel so much righter? I could go on and on... Kites in the field, wading in the dug out, moving Gramma Newson, parades on Buster Days, driving to the city, a bargain at a garage sale, tractors at the WDM, fishing at the zoo, golfing in Dalmeny, shopping at Canadian Tire, Corner Gas on the couch, oysters at Christmas... Oysters Dad! You made oysters good! Oysters!!!
See? It feels like yesterday, like it's just right there and so so real. But it also feels a bit like a fairy tale that was so beautiful it can't possibly be true. Did all of that really happen? Did we have all of that and lose it?
No, never lost. Always in our hearts. Eternity in our hearts. Till we're together again.
Till then we go on. Somedays it's okay that you're so far away that it almost doesn't seem real. It makes it easier to make new memories together without you in them. It hurts a little still, but we keep on making them. Laughing and crying without you. You won't be at Ben's baptism, and Noah's grad, and Abbey's dance recital. You didn't see Sam the pirate and you won't meet Becca the spider. You can't laugh at Nathan playing video games and running out of "bullays," or hold Hannah while she cries about who knows what and look over her head at me, probably crying too at the sight of you together.
So sometimes I like to imagine you in our new stories. Like Ang and The Corn Maze. I imagine you and her going back together to conquer that thing. She's crazy Dad, just like you, completely out of her mind. I like to imagine you two determined together to beat the Rosthern Youth Farm corn maze, while Becca and get bored and wander off to eat cotton candy and pet the baby goat. Or I imagine you at the lake with us this summer digging a big hole with all the kids at the beach, and encouraging Nathan to steal Johnny's drink behind his back and laughing when he comes back to his chair and can't find it. And I imagine you and Mike taking Hunter and Roscoe Pecoe Train for a walk in the ball field and yelling at them when they run off and won't come back. "Hunter! Roscoe! Get back here you dumb animals!"
I imagine you sitting in my backyard. I'd like that so much Dad. Just you sitting in my backyard in one of my chairs from Canadian Tire, and maybe a caesar and each of us with a book for each of us to read, and the kids on the swingset. Wouldn't that be... ... ... just... heaven on earth. That's all I'm asking. Just for a little heaven down here. With me. With us.
I'm at the end of this post, and I'm still not sure what I mean to say today. I miss you. That part is certain. But we're okay Dad, it's still "okay" just like it was five years ago. It hurts like nothing I've ever known before, but somehow it's okay that it hurts. I think that "somehow" has a lot to do with Someone. So it's okay. And just like five years ago and five years from now and an eternity from all of it, I love you. I love you a lot. Not even a little tiny teeny bit less than the day we lost you or the day I'll see you again. A lot. A lot and a lot and a lot.