Lehigh Valley - PA

It’s snowing. According to the equinox, it’s spring, and yet, the world is so cold without you in it. Lately, I’ve been trying to have a brighter perspective on things, though. None of that toxic positivity bullshit, just… watching the snow fall and wondering if perhaps it’s you, telling me that you know how much I loved you.

How much I still love you. 

I know I’m not always great at showing it. But I tried, in my own stoic way. When you got sick, I made it my personal mission to protect you. I learned legal jargon and how to read medical reports so I could advocate for you while you were on life support. 

Grief is a bitch, to put it bluntly. Once you hit that year mark, it’s as if people expect you to be like Oh that was weird, and just move on. Snap out of it. But, it feels like it gets worse.

It isn’t their fault, I guess. How can it be when they haven’t felt the magnitude of a loss like mine. They will someday, unfortunately. We all endure the death of a parent. One day, they will understand that the best any moment can be is bittersweet. Because they won’t have that person to call and tell them they nailed a job interview, or to put out a cheese spread with ring bologna just for stopping by. 

One day, they will have to relearn how to live. Just like I’m doing. And Dad. And Eric. 

I’m not gonna lie. Dad still doesn’t have his shit together. But he’s working at it. The other day, he made your casserole. The one you used to make for me in vats, with the elbow macaroni, hamburger, and canned tomatoes. It was actually pretty good! He found your peanut bar recipe, too, but we took a vote and that one doesn’t need to come out of retirement. Sorry, Mom. 

What else did we find? Oh, your date books. Filled with appointments for other people, so you could make sure everyone was where they needed to be.

And a playlist called “Brenda’s favorite songs,” which we played at your funeral. Judas Priest, Disturbed, Fleetwood Mac. Not typically what you’d expect at one of those, but you were a whole vibe. 

You were this quiet, lovely lady. And I was, well, me. Aside from our compassion for animals, I thought we were nothing alike. But lately, I’ve been noticing similarities. The worst thing is that some of them are things I swore I would never do. Like the Post-Its. This woman is communicating via Post-Its, I’d think to myself whenever I peeled one off the mirror or the garage door. If only you could see all those colorful squares around me now. 

Watching the snow continue to fall, I’m reminded of all the Christmas Eves I spent with you and Dad. Even though I don’t celebrate Christmas, it was important to you, and if I’m being honest, I enjoyed watching you and Cheryl come home with like three hundred Hallmark ornaments every year. 

You loved gatherings, which was why I chose a cemetery that gets walked a lot —so you’ll never be alone. If you saw your headstone, you’d throw a shit fit. It’s five feet tall. You never wanted the spotlight on you, but this felt like the right thing for us to do, to show our appreciation. Everyone is walking past admiring you and your beautiful monument, which is what you deserve. 

And there’s more. I’m growing a Diamond. Have you heard of those memorial diamonds? It truly is the coolest thing ever, and when I heard about it, I knew without question that it was something I wanted to do. 

The Diamond is your whole life, grown with earth from your first house, your last house, and your gravesite, and all of our hair: mine, yours, Dad’s, Eric’s. Oh, and Hubert. I knew you’d be game for me sneaking the cat in there. When it’s finished, the stone will be nestled in a white-gold snowflake setting—an homage to you being born in a blizzard—and surrounded by sapphires. 

This is your time to shine, Mom. 

It’s been an emotional journey, and I know it’s going to be so worth it. Just having you with me when I travel is going to be a whole new adventure. We’re going to see a lot of cool things together. So hold on tight. 

I love you more than you could ever know, 

Jessica ♡