I wish I could have done things different after your stroke. You see, I was 16 and I didn’t understand how finite time can be. I didn’t know that it wouldn’t last forever, but that’s not my only excuse. I missed you. I missed your smile, your stories, your laughter. I missed your smell. Chantilly Lace and baby powder were replaced with antiseptic cleaners and hospital laundry soap.
In the beginning, I had high hopes for your recovery. I would visit you almost every night and read to you. I’d try my best with our one sided conversations. You clung to your last name. It was all you would say over and over. As if to say, “I’m still me. I’m in here!” I wish I had the courage to open up more. To say all that I felt. I was of the age where everything felt awkward. It was too hard to go there. I am glad that we won the Holiday Door Decorating Contest. I could tell that made you happy, maybe even a little proud. I wish I had done more than slap some pictures and streamers on a door.
Soon, I became busy with school and friends and life in general. Our visits became more infrequent. I didn’t want to be reminded of what I had lost. It was selfish, I know. For that, I’m sorry.
I wish you had been able to meet Fish and the girls. They would have loved you so much. I try to tell them stories. How good your cooking was. How, every time we visited you, you would shout for grandpa to go get the us kids a box of ice cream. Your laugh. Your kindness. Your thoughtful moments. The butterscotch candies in your nightstand. Your eyes – deep and soulful.
I miss you.