Have you ever loved someone so hard, so long, so much and then they are gone. They leave naturally. Time takes them. You watch them get weaker. They are in pain. You wish more for them, but they are beyond repair. You get the call that they have passed, you aren’t surprised, you aren’t even sad. It’s an empty feeling, but it makes sense.
Sometimes it takes years for your heart to catch up with your brain, but it does … and when it does … it only takes one picture. One picture of that person that you loved so long, so hard and so much. You can remember their smell, their voice, the feel of their skin on yours. You remember how they called you “kiddo” even when you were 27 years old.
You remember how they spoiled you with your favorite juice even though it was nearly impossible for them to get to the store themselves. Then you remember even further back, you weren’t even a baby, not even a toddler, rather, a big kid. They lifted you on to their shoulders and boasted about how you were theirs. You remember how strong they were and how genuinely happy they were to know you and show you off.
You’ll never forget that kind of love. The kind of love that shaped you into a person that demands to be adored and doted on. The kind of love that taught you what love really is and the way a real man should behave.
I will never forget when it became hard for you to stand up or even be awake for more than an hour a day. Even when you knew you wouldn’t get better, your eyes would light up when you saw me and you’d muster up a joke and a smile.
Every once and a while, I want to drive to you and I have to remind myself that you won’t be there. It doesn’t makes sense to my brain or my heart. I still see you as that strong man. The man that could fight a moose, toss a kid over his shoulder, beat anyone in a game of cribbage and make everyone laugh. I miss you everyday and you set an example that I will refer to for my entire life. My only hope is that I can make you as proud of me as I am to have been part of you.