I cried today. As hard as I ever have. No matter what people say time does not heal all wounds. There are some things that happen that will never be okay. Ever.
Twenty years without your laugh. Twenty years without your words. Twenty years without your spunk. Twenty years without your warmth. Twenty years without the radiant smile you always hid from cameras because you didn’t like your teeth. Twenty years without your hugs. Twenty years with the empty place you left on the earth.
Your arms were always safe. Your words were always firm but kind. You were steady through all the unsteady seasons of my tender years. You were there as I learned to eat with forks and spoons instead of my hands. You were there as I learned to use a toilet. You helped me to not be afraid it was going to suck me in. You were there as I learned to use my words to express my feelings and not to throw and break things. You taught me to count to ten and breathe when I felt angry. You were there as I learned to ride a bike, to talk to my peers… and to BOYS! You were there after my first day of High School. You were there the first time I got dumped by a boy. You were there when my mom and I went shopping for my middle school promotion dress. You were at so many soccer, softball, and volley ball games.
You were my harbor through my parents divorce. You were there when I gave my heart to Jesus and my family did not know who I was anymore. You would let me stumble my way through explaining what had so transformed me. You were there in the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep. You always listened and I learned how to listen from you. You were there when migraines splintered my world. You were there when my mom couldn’t be. You were always there. You helped build me. You had a hand in raising me. It will never sit well with me that now you are missing.
It was a day very like today when the world stopped turning. It was warm and breezy. It was Friday and the whole day felt off. I remember exactly where I was when the phone rang. I felt sick. I heard my dad answer and my blood went cold when he said my name. I knew. I could feel it. As my mom said the words that shattered my heart through her violent gasping sobs all I could think about were your babies. My best friends, the kids I was growing up with. We all still needed you. What now? I went to them as fast as possible. I had no words. There were none that could ever make any of it better. I looked into their eyes. I hugged them. I cried with them. There was nothing else to be done.
You were gone. It wasn’t fair. It was unbearable and yet you were gone still.
Today I sit here the same age you were when you left this earth. My heart is still breaking. It has been breaking for twenty years. It will keep breaking as long as I draw breath. I will miss you for the rest of my life. This is grief.
I wonder what you would think of me. Would you be proud of who I have become? Would we still be close? How different would this pocket of the world be if you had continued to live and love so well as you did?
I know you are with Jesus. I know you are at peace. Your kids are magnificent. You smile down on them I am sure. We miss you Penn. Happy angelversary.
©️Rachel Anne Redfield 2019