I don't know that you can read blogs from heaven. If I had my way, you could.
I miss you. I took a walk yesterday - it was a stunning, clear blue-sky day - and I passed through the cemetery in our town. It made me think of another clear blue-sky day almost a year ago, when we walked through this same cemetery together, after the Memorial Day parade, pensive, reading gravestones.
Who would have thought that less than two weeks later you'd be gone?
We've had quite a year.
I'd like to believe that you know, somehow, what is going on in our lives. Did you know I had cancer? I think maybe you did, because I felt your presence. A lot.
Remember our family motto? I think we stole it from the Kennedys, but that's no matter: When the going gets tough, the tough get going?
Well, Dad, we got going. We did it. Together, we made it through. You would be so proud of Mom. She was a graceful, gentle warrior, constantly by my side. She was so strong. We all were. We got that from you.
I would think of you a lot when I had chemotherapy. Hours just sitting, looking out the window at the view of Boston. I thought about how you beat cancer. It gave me strength.
We're Strongs. Damn straight.
Now we're on the other side of cancer, and life feels bright, shiny - almost surreal. The other day Greta was talking to me earnestly about something, but I couldn't hear a word she said. I couldn't take my eyes off the realness of her, how present she was, how beautiful. I felt such a strong tug in my heart I almost cried.
That happens a lot these days.
Did you feel this way? When they gave you the "all clear"? I wish I had asked you. I wish I had asked you so much more about your own cancer journey. I had no way of knowing I would be facing my own trial, in the not-so-distant future.
Sometimes, I find it hard to trust the diagnosis. Are they SURE? Did that happen to you?
Mostly, though, I feel a gratitude so profound it almost hurts. It almost hurts to look at my life, at how blessed I am with my strong, healthy family, a roof over our heads and unbelievable friends. How did we get so lucky?
I want to wrap my arms around everyone, pull them close, keep them safe and warm.
Finn crawled in my lap the other day, for no particular reason, and murmured: I love you, Momma, you're so warm.
I squeezed him tight, inhaled his salty boy-scent and told him I loved him, too. Those words seem way too small for the love I feel, though.
I guess that's the gift surviving cancer gives you, if you let it. The gift of lucky. The gift of blessed. The gift of gratitude. The gift of present.
I don't think too much about the future these days. Partly, because I'm still a little scared. I'm reeling from the one-two punch of losing you, then getting cancer. It's hard to trust the quiet, but I'm trying. I feel moments, now. Individual moments that pass in the blink of an eye, but feel like they last so much longer to me. Because I can taste them. I can feel them.
It's so much easier this way. Moment to moment. The bigger picture is just too much, you know? And we have so little control over it. For me, fear lives there, in the bigger picture. So I'm staying here, in the moment, where it feels safe.
I love you.
P.S. - I keep listening to this song, because it sums up how I'm feeling better than I can. Check it out, you'll like it: