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We missed you on Mother’s Day. And your birthday in June. I missed you terribly at Thanksgiving, but most of all on Christmas morning. To be honest, I don’t think Dad has passed a solitary minute when he hasn’t missed you. He told me last week that he hasn’t even been able to bring himself to sleep on your side of the bed yet. I told him there was no hurry.
You remember all of those potted plants that you loved? How he would fuss every time you would bring another one home to “crowd the porch?” Well, he hasn’t let a single one of them die. In fact, they have multiplied. He has started a little nursery behind your mother’s house. We had a big freeze a few days ago. Set new records. Dad spent the night moving a heater around the hothouse to keep your flowers warm.
I bought a Christmas tree this year and made Dad dig some of your ornaments out of storage for me. “You know she would’ve wanted us to decorate,” I told him. “Yeah, Sonya loved them damned Nutcrackers,” he said. It still hurts to say your name out loud. But we do it anyway.
Life is different without you here. But it ain’t all bad. Dad and I have gotten closer. And I think all of us have become more attuned to the little things, the minor miracles of everyday life. You always looked for the good in people. I’m trying to do that too.
Remember the time you brought roller blades home for the whole family and decided to teach Dad how to skate in the middle of highway 189? He couldn’t stay on his feet for love or money. Ended up with cuts and scrapes from stem to stern. But you said, “I’ve never seen anyone so good at being the worst at something.” Well, I’ve never seen anyone as good as you at finding the best in bad situations.
I’ve had another birthday, and we’ve begun a new year. It would be easy to mope around and whine about everything that didn’t pan out like we’d hoped. But you wouldn’t do that. You’d spot the hundreds of blessings we missed, reminding us that life ain’t all that bad.
That may be what I miss most. Your stubborn faith in life. In us. The nightly newscasters who earn their wages by pointing to the worst that humanity has to offer wouldn’t know what to do with you. You would terrify them with hope.
We love you and miss you. Life is not the same without you in it. But no, it ain’t all bad.