My dear friend, you are gone and I have never felt so lost. I have never known a life without you and now I have no choice but to navigate it on my own.

I broke down tonight, finally. I haven’t had the chance to mourn since the funeral. My mind has been flooded with school-related things as it’s “the most wonderful time of the year” – finals week.

I broke down because as I was driving to dad’s, Take Me Home, Country Roads started playing. It brought me back to the time we went to PA with Aunt Jenny around Christmas. It was just the 3 of us, and it was probably 2012 or 2013. I honestly don’t remember much about the road trip itself, but I remember the drive home. That song came on and the three of us sang it together, yet to ourselves. Aunt Jenny was driving your car, I was in the passenger seat and you were in the back behind the drivers seat. I remember turning back to you as we sang the song, and you were gazing out the window at the night sky. I always knew I’d remember the moment for the rest of my life. I really didn’t know why it felt so special, perhaps I know that not everyone gets to have moments like this with the people they love. The day in and of itself was unique because it was just the three of us – but it was the ride home that will stay in my heart forever.

Yesterday I was in Rite Aid and saw Brown Sugar pop tarts and literally starting crying. You always gave those to me, and at the time I really didn’t like them but I never told you. I would let Grace eat them for the most part, actually. But now I have a whole new appreciation for them.

Lately, I’ve been catching myself thinking about when to come visit you. It obviously doesn’t take me long to remember reality. Every time I’m forced to remember reality, my heart aches. I just not able to accept what has happened.

It’s 1:30 and I can’t sleep, so I plan to continue writing. I know you’d want me to get sleep, 8 hours exactly, but I have to be up at 5:30 anyway, so it’s just not going to work out this time.

My fondest memories are the oldest, and I want to share some of them.

I remember when you bought me the red wagon for my birthday. It had two balloons on it, but one got away. We were standing in the middle of my backyard. You always remembered the color of the one that flew away. Your memory, like your mothers, was the absolute sharpest. I also remember you dumping me out of said wagon on the side of Old Fallston Road, in the rain ditch, to be exact. I forgave you, of course.

Once, we took a ride on your lawn mower, and I turned the speed all the way up thinking it would only go as fast as dad’s, but oh man I was wrong. We were both spooked. You forgave me, of course.

I remember when you caught the stove on fire. I must have been about 6 years old because I recall running between the kitchen and living room, reporting to your mom what was going on.

You watched Pudds when we went to the Outer Banks once, and I remember you telling me the story of you looking out of the kitchen window and seeing a cat chasing a butterfly, thinking it was cute, but then realizing it was Pudds! Thankfully you or Pabo patched the whole in the basement window after that.

During one of the Bull Roasts, I remember asking Pabo after he arrived where you were. He said you were looking for your keys in the fridge. Apparently that wasn’t a lie! I laughed so hard. That also reminds me of when you had your TV remote in your purse when we went to Manor Tavern for Dad’s birthday. I made you take it out so I could take a picture. Hysterical.

I miss the small things, like how you would offer me rolls of toilet paper when I was in college. You would tell me to help myself to anything in the basement. The struggle was real and you knew it. Similar to the massive snack boxes you would assemble for my vacations, which were my absolute favorite, you and dad would visit me in College Park with boxes of food and supples to ensure I wouldn’t starve. I miss our weekly dinner dates and occasion dollar store runs we were able to have once I moved in with mom after college. It was really nice living so close to you. A few other memories from that time include shoveling and salting your driveway and sidewalk before you woke up, decorating your porch for your birthday…before you woke up (common theme here), and introducing you to Starbucks – we took the drive thu, and I ordered you a kids temp caramel apple spice, and you were wearing your fingerless Steve Madden gloves I bought you – you were 100% hip that night.

I miss traditions, and now that you are gone I literally have none. On Easter I miss the game where we would crack boiled eggs and see who’s egg shell would last the longest. I think Pabo typically won that one – typical. I miss your stuffing on Thanksgiving, and your cookies at Christmas. I also miss things like lunches at the picnic tables under the big tree in your backyard, walking across your backyard to get snowballs, and having dinner with you, Pabo and Dad around your kitchen table – we always sat in the same places. I can envision it now. I miss that house. It was the only place that felt like home, especially after divorce and excessive transience.

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This is only a start, but I should try to sleep. I guess what I’m really trying to say is

thank you.

 

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