AugustAugust 2, 2011
Oh, my Teddy.
She’s so alive, your sister. So alive and fast and loud and vigorous and thoughtful and funny and here. She grabs every bit of attention in a room for her own, claims us with clutching hands and smiles and, more and more, words.
She spent the weekend running in and out of the wading pool in the yard, saying “Splashing, splashing, splashing” as she splashed away. Today in the car, she said “Hat. Frog,” and then put her hat on her toy frog. I know I’m besotted, but I’m afraid she’s awfully clever, Teddy. I worry sometimes about whether or not we’ll be able to keep up with her clever little brain.
She runs, all the time, and she yells when she runs, which is something of a blessing because it makes it easier to chase her without making wrong turns.
She still wears your Cubs hat. It’s so small that it nearly pops off her head, but your daddy can’t help but to keep putting it on.
It’s August, darling boy. It’s August, and I don’t know how I can be so grateful and so angry all at the same time.
You should be here.
You should be here, damn it.
You should fucking be here fucking, fucking damn it.
Well, I think August will help me progress in my use of profanity.
I cannot let you go, it seems. Do you want me to? I hope not. I hope you stay close, sometimes, even though I cannot feel you around. I like to think of Dot being alone and bored some August afternoon years from now, like to think of her wishing for someone to talk to about the ladybug she found in the flower bed, and then hearing a voice – your voice – saying, “I like ladybugs, too” (though I expect you’d say something much more meaningful and clever, really). And then, out of the ether, out of nowhere, out from behind the wind, you will take her hand and she will take yours, and you’ll spend the summer afternoons together. And maybe I would hear her laughing as I washed dishes or put together dinner and somehow I’d just know your laughter was mixed up in hers. I’d like that.
But that is my daydreaming, my fantasizing mind. It keeps trying to find ways to hold onto you.
It keeps stumbling over the fact of your death. Your death is an awfully big thing for your poor mother’s mind to get around, little huckleberry. My mind isn’t big enough, or strong enough, or clever enough. My mind, like the rest of me, just wants you back.
I am grateful for every screech, shriek, splash, yell, giggle, snore, and word that your sister makes. Fiercely grateful, fearfully grateful. But it’s so strange – isn’t it? – that it comes so easily to her, this being alive business. It looks so easy and natural, and even while I revel in that, I can’t help but to think of how hard it was for you for even those few hours. I hate that it was so hard for you to be alive.
In August, I feel so far from acceptance. How could it have been so hard for you? How can you be gone? Why can’t you come back? Why can’t I find you and bring you back?
Three years ago we were in Portland, finally close to the hospital we thought would give you the best chance, finally allowing ourselves to focus on hope. Sometimes I wonder if I got stuck there somehow, stuck hoping for you. I’m too stubborn for my own good, and maybe my stubbornness turned into the kind of hubris that can’t recognize death.
Or, maybe, it’s just August again. August, when the memories are so thick it’s hard to see through them.