I cannot believe it’s been exactly six years since I last saw you. I remember you were eating strawberry Cool-Whip, right from the container. Then you went to work in my van. I never saw you again. Well, seeing you in the casket doesn’t count, because it didn’t look like you; it wasn’t you.
I still miss you so much that I try not to think of you too often or listen to songs that remind me of you. How eerie it was (still is) that on the way to mom’s that day, you made me listen to that Bruce Springsteen song, Paradise. You said it was the closest description of heaven you’d ever heard. I listened to it a million times after you died. I couldn’t find heaven in it at all.
That’s why you were going to work that night. You wanted the extra money to go to the Bruce Springsteen concert. It’s all so clear still. I’m glad. I relived that two hour drive to mom and dad’s for months because I was so afraid I’d forget.
Remember that Bush song that played on the radio? Glycerine. I wondered what it meant and you expounded at length. I looked up the meaning after I got home. You were so full of crap; you really had no idea why Gavin Rossdale wrote it.
Remember the snow? I was so nervous. I hated (still hate) driving in the snow. You were kind of pompous because you were a truck driver. “I’ve driven over a million miles. I know how to drive in the snow.” Maybe. But driving in the snow is what killed you.
The kids miss you. You were one of those uncles that let them play video games or watch movies that I didn’t approve of. Instead of paying bills, you showered them with gifts on birthdays and Christmas. You let them ride in your big truck, or drive Dad’s pick-up even though they didn’t have a drivers permit. You taught the two boys and Daughter³ to fight with lightsabers. You had always won battles against Son¹. I remember the day he won his first battle against you. He was so proud. You babysat and changed diapers, you listened to my older girls and treated them like grown-ups. They all love you very much and although D³ was only two years old when you died, she talks about you often.
I never went through the anger they say is a stage of grief. I knew you were meant to go and that you were better off and much happier. I knew if I could just ask and it would bring you back, I wouldn’t. It would have been selfish to do that to you. You were one of those people who never really grew up and that made life here tough for you.
I wish I could talk to you though. I was so curious what you would think of Gavin DeGraw. Now I wonder what you would think of the Kings of Leon. I wonder what you would have thought of the last Star Wars movie. You were so excited to see it, but you died about a month before it came out. I thought it was good, but I cried because you weren’t there.
The hardest thing about your death was that you died alone in an ambulance. I wished I could have been there. One day, as I was praying for you I realized I could be there with you. I prayed so long and fervently that God would let you feel me with you when you died. He can do anything, and He is outside of time. I knew He would do that for me, because I wanted it so badly. Then I imagined holding your hand from the time you crashed until you died in the ambulance, and I kept telling you it was OK because your big sister was with you.
I’ve learned about death since you’ve been gone and hope. Your loss is infinitely unbearable, and at the same time because of faith it is infinitely bearable. The next time I see you, you can tell me what you think of Gavin DeGraw, Kings of Leon and Revenge of the Sith. I’m sure you’ll have much to say.