Three years ago today, we weren't perfect, but we had a rhythm; the pieces of our family fit together so precisely, so genuine a complement, one to the other, that to imagine one of the pieces gone would have been an impossibility.
We felt on the cusp of something good. Was it a great year ahead in school? Was it, with the grueling business of raising tiny ones behind us, that Tim and I could just be in wonder for a little while, really enjoying the neat people our kids had become?
Instead, we lost Jack that September 8th.
The balance is gone from our family, our lives, but we move forward each day. We eat family dinners. We watch America's Got Talent and the Amazing Race, just as we always did. It has been three long years since we've seen our son, touched him, heard his perspective on things. If he was not a loud kid, why are things so quiet around here? Still, at least once a week, I'll think, "Wait until I tell Jack this!" or "What's Jack going to do while Tim, Margaret and I are at soccer?" as if he has just been in another room all along.
It would be hard to pinpoint what I miss most. Because in my mind's eye, Jack is no longer 12, but is now 15, so I also miss things that I don't even know how to recognize or name. Glimmers of a teenage boy and early manhood that were just an idea when we lost him.
I guess the thing I miss the very most is the way I could just grab him, whenever he walked by me and give him a hug or a kiss, and he'd let himself be pulled close, let his hair be ruffled. Perhaps he'd be balking at that by now, twisting away from my gentle grasp. But I don't know.
It gets easier. It does. One truly can have hope and joy and laughter and growth after such a loss. Tim, Margaret, and I are walking, living, breathing proof.
But that doesn't mean I don't still wonder sometimes if all of this has just been a bad dream.
We Love You. We Miss You. We'll Never Forget You.