Woke up early this morning to pick Rin up from the airport. Woke up earlier today than I did on this day last year. Last year I woke up to make sure you had breakfast before you left for work. Last year I made you chocolate milk breakfast, made sure your lunch was packed and we talked for a few minutes. You said you were going over to your new girlfriend’s house after work. I told you not to stay out too long. I gave you a hug, you hugged me back. I told you I loved you. I watched you walk down to your truck. I took my coffee out on the back porch to smoke and listen for you to start your truck. I stepped around the back of the house to watch you pull out of our street. I listened as you drove your truck down to the next intersection and stop – turn left – stop again – turn left and watched as you drove your truck south on the highway. I could hear you better than I could see you, but seeing the top of your truck and the American flag go by was enough – I did that every morning, I don’t think you ever knew that.
That was the last morning I was happy – the last morning I could sleep without fearing my dreams, the last morning Rin could leave the house without me afraid she wouldn’t make it back… Those simple, every day, normal things mom’s do. I knew I was meant to do those simple, every day things. You may have been an adult technically, but even 18 year olds still need their moms.
Rin and I spent the day at home in the air conditioned house. We ventured out once for a blizzard from Dairy Queen. We watched the movie Spirit in her room and waited for the weather to cool. We talked about silly things, we talked about what it was going to be like when you left for the Marines, we just enjoyed being together.
The weather cooled, we had some dinner, Rin went to bed around 10ish, and Joe turned in about midnight. I stayed up waiting for you, but I fell asleep – the TV was on some science channel and I fell asleep. I can’t believe I fell asleep… The police knocked on the door about 4:30am and my life fell apart.
All day today the tape of this day last year plays on repeat. I put it on mute to answer questions, to hug my girl when she gets off the plane, to eat lunch, to listen to the great things she did in Hawai’i. I put in on mute to function – all the while the video is playing – the pictures keep coming.
Your friends are remembering you on Face Book, posting pictures and memories. The videos of you on the Fat Cat, the day you went to school dressed as a girl, the All-Stars Football game, riding quads at the sand dunes, four-wheeling in your truck, graduation… I know they miss you, but I truly don’t think anyone could miss you more than I. I hear your voice, feel your arms around me, see the lopsided smile, the sparkle in your eyes. I trace your face in my mind every day missing you. Wishing you were here to see Rin grow, wishing you were here tracking mud through the house. I miss the late night talks, I miss watching you work on your truck and trying to be a help. Often a truck will drive down the street and I think it’s you for just a moment…then I remember…you won’t be coming home…and my heart breaks more.
My heart breaks even more today – knowing that tonight will come, knowing that the tape of tomorrow will be filled with the first days of grieving your loss. The tapes are cruel, vivid, and never-ending… I will continue to mute when I need to, continue to function and even pretend…
I miss you, Roo… I love you.