James D. Cook
1933 - 2017
Where there has been love, tears come first.
Where there has been suffering, relief comes next.
The plans – what to say, where to be – wrestle you from your moments of reflection.
You think you're doing well on top of that wave, not falling in like you thought you would.
Because the business of dealing with death feels, blessedly, like coping with death.
Missing comes last.
Missing comes in line at the supermarket.
When a song plays.
When a photo surfaces.
When a memory - the way they looked when they were amused, frustrated, relieved – appears before your eyes while you're looking for a parking space somewhere.
It comes with knowing you'll deal with some thing alone now, for the first time.
You begin to forget what they looked like when they were failing
When they went quiet
When they stopped smiling
Now, while missing is happening, you're hearing the sound of their laugh again
The feel of their goodbye hug
The look on their face when they first spotted you in a restaurant, and raised a hand, "Right here."
You forget how you worried
Sat in the car and cried
Prayed in guilty silence for a swift and gentle end
Now, when missing is happening, you reflect on what they taught you:
Not to take yourself too seriously
Not to hold grudges
Not to lose your sense of humor – ever. EVER.
Not to waste your gifts if you are lucky enough to know what they are.
To be fair, forgiving, and above all, generous.
You wonder if you said "Thank you" enough.
You wonder if you said "I love you" enough.
You wonder if you did enough about it when you missed them.
When missing is happening, you don't think so, even though you know you did.
You fall in.
The wave tosses you, swallows you.
The feelings stop you in your tracks, take your breath away.
You cry. In your kitchen, in your car, in a shop when the sales person hands you a top and says "Is this too bright for your event?"
You remember more every day, and it feels like too much.
This is you, walking in the restaurant, looking for that hand.
And this, when missing is happening, is when your loved person, who has already taken their place beside you, says, "Right here."