Today is not an anniversary or a special day to remember. Today is just a day… and I miss you. I miss you with a sadness that sometimes makes my bones hurt and my muscles ache. These are the days when ideas of heaven and an afterlife are not enough to ease the distance between you and I. Not enough to soothe the burn of loss. You weren’t one for flowery words. You would have given me a hug and told me you loved me if you were here. But you aren’t. And so my words are how I handle it today. Rest assured, I’m not wallowing. That, I know you’d hate. If I get too bad I always hear you in my mind telling me to go sit under the porch and eat worms. There will be no worm eating today. I promise.
There are reminders of you around me all the time. They’re tiny threads of gold in a hand tied fly, flashing when the light cuts through the water just right. A sparkle beneath the ever changing surface of everyday life. Wether it was your intention or not, you taught me to look for those glittering moments in the little things all around me.
I see you in my baby’s smile. She smiles just like you did when you were up to no good. Its two parts mischief, one part joy. It lights up her whole face all the way to her eyes just like it did yours. She was supposed to have your name if she was a boy but instead she has your smile. It’s somehow better that way. I hope she always smiles like you.
Fish, of course, always make me think of you, but so do other things. The smell of smoke from a freshly lit Pall Mall Red stops me in my tracks no matter where I am. Despite the fact that you stopped smoking, that smell will always be you to me. I’m reminded of you by unglazed cake doughnuts and by my favorite breakfast restaurant. I see you in myself when I feel the urge to wake the entire family up early to go get breakfast. I still think that sunny side up eggs are gross. You never managed to sell me on that one.
Even now, almost three years later, I forget that you aren’t here. I call your phone and half expect you to answer. See a man on the street and have to look twice to convince myself that it’s not you. Almost three years and when I talk to someone about you I can only say “my grandfather,” because calling you “Pawpaw” gets me choked up. I wish I could hug you one last time. Hear you laugh and tell you I love you. I promise to tell the kids all about you and share your stories. I promise to find ways to help other people just like you did. If you’re floating nearby be sure to stop by and say hi. I miss you.