“I was all right for awhile
I could smile for awhile
But I saw you last night
You held my hand so tight
As you stopped to say, “Hello””
“Crying” – Roy Orbison

It’s 1:06 and I made it. No phone call, no punch to the gut, no kick in the balls (some people might tell you I have a pair, I don’t…but I have a good idea what it feels like) And yes, I’ve had a few drinks and maybe you shouldn’t take everything I have to say tonight as the gospel truth, but you should listen because someday you might lose someone and you’ll remember that someone else has felt what you feel right at that moment and you too will remember exactly what time it was. That was a fucking long sentence. I told you, I’ve been drinking.

It’s a hard, painful night for me. I miss him. I’m mad that he’s not here. If anyone deserves to be, it’s him. And every January 1st at 1:06, I remember in detail how my world changed. I hear the phone ring, I see the flashing lights and his car, I feel the cold metal of the door to the hospital as I pound on it begging them to let me in, and I hear the words “he didn’t make it” come tumbling from the surgeon’s mouth. I hear him ask me if I want to see him and I don’t hesitate; I run down the hospital corridor and hold him tight until they tell me I have to leave. Tonight, at 11:36, I drove past the spot.  I read the sign like I do every morning and every evening. But tonight is the closest I have come to crying. And still, I haven’t cried.

It’s not just him. It’s the loss of everything I love or value or have taken for granted in the last year, every year. It’s hearing his laugh, it’s knowing that I was the last to hold him; still warm but so lifeless and still. It’s knowing that I will continue to wake and sleep, whether I want to or not. It’s knowing that regardless of how hard I try, some things are not meant to be and the acceptance of that is sometimes crippling. It’s remembering the day he was born  – and remembering the day I placed my brass ring in his casket. It’s knowing that as hard as I try, and want it to be so, I can’t change that day.

I can hear an owl outside in the tree. It keeps asking “who” and I keep telling him Jerry, but for some reason he can’t hear me. And the more I say his name, the more I think that I haven’t done him justice. His gravesite is 20 minutes away but I never go to see him. I sometimes feel like I have neglected him. But then I stop for a moment and think of all the ways my life has changed because he’s gone. I wouldn’t be writing if it wasn’t for him. I would not have questioned – ever- if I should remain in a job that was unfulfilling, and I certainly would have never left a marriage that was slowly killing me.

And so, when I truly think about it, losing him brought me more fulfillment than I could have ever imagined. As hard as some days are, and as surely as I am convinced that I am meant to spend the rest of my life without a deep connection to someone, I find comfort in my awareness of loss; that he is not gone for nothing; that his spirit has found a way to remind me of how much life there still is to live and how beautiful every day is, if I truly look for it.

And so tonight Jer, I will tell you I miss you. I will tell you I’m sorry that I wasn’t the perfect big sister I should have been. And I will tell you that I’m crying right now because it’s finally just too much…really, really crying. And that’s another thing I need to thank you for. Goodnight sweet Jer Bear. I love you.

“Yes, now you’re gone
And from this moment on
I’ll be crying, crying
Crying, crying
Yeah, crying, crying
Over you”

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