You were right. (You don’t hear that very often from me, do you?)
Six years ago, in our last conversation before you died, you told me “You’ll be okay.”
I didn’t believe you then. I didn’t believe you on the first anniversary of your death, or the second, or the third. By the fourth, I had become good at existing, but I never felt okay. By the fifth, I felt okay unless something went wrong, then I was angry with you for not being here to help me deal with it.
But it’s been six years now, and I really am okay. Things still go wrong, of course, but now instead of being angry, I’m just sarcastic – “Way to get out of dealing with this one, honey!”
I kept one shirt of yours, and I have worn it when I needed the comfort of feeling you close. Today, I’m wearing it because I want to, not because I need to. That’s a big change for me.
Like everyone else during this pandemic (Way to get out of dealing with this one, honey!), I’ve been doing some decluttering. And I’ve finally been able to throw some of your cherished mementos out – pictures of your cars, your time cards from SIR, the old wooden silverware chest that you kept them in. It’s only now that I could admit to myself that as much as they meant something to you, they don’t mean anything to me. And it’s only now that I could do that without any guilt.
I miss you and I always will, but now I see your death as a change in my life, not the end of my life. Life is not better without you, but it’s also not worse without you. It’s just different without you.
Like you said, I’ll be okay.