...our sixteenth wedding anniversary today.
I spent the day moving the last bunch of stuff from the rental house, and stowing it in the "new" house, all the while missing you. Wishing you were here to help sort stuff, or just talk to me, and occasionally flash a smile my way.
Then I went back to the furniture store at Southcenter where I got the kids' dressers, and bought a bed. It's cross-cut oak with dovetailed cedar drawers. It's mission style, masculine, and mine. And that hurt. A lot. Far more than I thought it would. Kayleigh still has her white canopy bed we got for her when she turned 3, and your cedar hope chest survived too (along with everything it contained, including your wedding dress). The oak rocking chair your folks bought us when Tyler was born sits in the corner of the living room. RestorX has cleaned the stainless dinner-ware we'd used since September 29th, 1990, so I'll be getting that back soon. And of course the house still stands. And that's pretty much everything of ours that remains in my life.
Not counting the kids, of course.
So our daughter turns 9 tomorrow, going on 24 - with talent and spirit and drama in ample supply. I remember celebrating our 7th wedding anniversary and, not 24 hours later, holding our little baby girl in my arms. That was the coolest anniversary gift ever. But it's also confusing when I feel melancholy on the 29th and have to be cheerful on the 30th.
It's almost a year and a half. I still miss you, baby. The special occasions are hard, but the day-to-day keeps getting easier to deal with. Although I still get incredulous stares when a sales clerk or contractor asks why I'm not consulting with the wife to make certain decisions, and have to tell them my wife is dead. I think I've accepted that this stuff happens all the time, but most people have a hard time wrapping their head around how a healthy 35-year-old woman gets a terminal cancer. I don't know... maybe if one person hears my story and it gives him or her a subtle shift in attitude, so that maybe life doesn't just consist of commutes and meetings and reports and minutia... so that they appreciate the fragile life they've been given, and maybe hug their kids a few more times each day... maybe then, telling the story is ultimately worthwhile.
We're taking Kayleigh out for her birthday dinner tonight. Most of the local family will be there. I will be thinking of you, and maybe you'll be peeking in to check on your girl.
It should be a happy day. Once upon a time, it was. But now it's one of those "It Should Have Been..." days. And that sucks. Don't get me wrong - on the whole, I think I'm doing pretty well. But this day has hit me hard, and I really miss you, more than most other days.