Family Portrait


Babes,family-rene-and-I It's summer here now. Your schedule would be jam packed; most mornings up at 5:30, but some we'd sleep in till 6:30 when the crew would arrive and knock on the door. You'd jump out of bed like you'd been up all morning. It would be early mornings and late nights, mixed with the occasional days away biking, wine tasting, or hiking. There would be short trips to the lake when we could both fit it in, and evenings drinking wine and catching up in the back yard. It would be busy and full on as it had been for all the years before.

But instead the house is quiet, painfully so.  It make me sad that nothing changes from when I lock the door on my way out to when I return. No dirty dishes left on the counter, or your dirty socks at the front door. No trace of you having been home. My mess or sparkling clean house, exactly as I left it. I used to get frustrated that you'd leave your stuff all over, or eat the left overs I was going to have for lunch, but now I miss it. Sometimes I'd find myself irritated at having to work around your life and your schedule, but what I wouldn't give to sit on your lap in our office both of us with your phone calendars open searching for matching open space to schedule us time.

Heather planned a family photo shoot months ago. She asked me when I could make it, I gave her a few best days but said I'd make anything work. I didn't think about it again till she sent me the colors I should be wearing and the reminder that it's this week. But you can't make it this week. All of me feels like we should reschedule. Rene can't make that day, Rene can't make that day. I really want to call and say that but I know she won't understand and I will have to hear the words, 'Rene won't make it any day'. 

Fuck. I pick out my outfit and am overcome with hurt that we won't be picking out yours. You won't be showing me all your potentials and then no matter how many handsome options, going and buying a new shirt anyway. The reason your side of the closet was far fuller than mine. My first family photo shoot without you in over 10 years. It's not right, it's a family photo, you should be in it.  How do I smile in that? How do I put on the blue and white color palette, and smile pretty when my heartaches like this?  But then again, how do I not? This is my family and I am very grateful for them all, so I will get it together as I have done countless times before, regardless of how bad it stings. A family photo without you, not without you because you're away or too busy and I'll hang it and you'll comment every time how we should have waited till you could have been there. No, like i'll probably never hang this, your absence too apparent, too painful.

Your absence has changed everything. From family photos to your birthday party, the summer packed full of new firsts just tearing into any scabs that had been forming. I felt the ache of your looming birthday. I looked at the date on my phone and there it was, exactly one month away. Like clockwork, I just knew it was time to start thinking about it. We would be planning something fun. Some years the celebrations were a week long and other years they were minimal, spanning only two or three days. Haha, Babes you loved the birthday festivities. You loved any reason to socialize, drink, and have good times. So as it gets closer the emptiness becomes more pervasive. All I want to do is throw you an amazing birthday party. It's your 30th. I am in disbelief, you didn't even make it to 30 years old?

Often I find myself feeling sad for you. Sad you don't get more time here. Sad when I see young  dads playing with their little kids. You wanted to be a dad so badly, and you would have be amazing. But then I catch myself, I have no idea what it is like for you now. Really, who am I to pity you?  I hate the pity face I get from others and yet, here I am doing it to you. I guess the thing is it hurts less to be sad for you than to feel the depths of my own pain.  

 Babes, I know in real time if you were here there would be so much about our life that would be grinding my nerves. How lucky I would be to have you by my side pissing me off, messing up the house, over scheduling our lives, waking me up at 5:00am 'because if you had to be up and so should I', staying out too late and drinking too much. I miss it all. I really do, I miss it all. All the stuff that I used to bitch about, even that. I was a lucky girl to have it all. 

While you will be noticeably absent from the family photo, for me you are noticeably absent from everything.

I hope you're 29 years here were all you needed. That you left complete. Know that from a selfish point of view I want you back, but when I get above myself I can see, you lived big and had a full life. I don't know if your birthday remains the same where you are now but here, there will always be a place for you in our family photos, a celebration for you on July 20th, and a part of my heart that belongs to you forever. Sending my love.