Ten (10)

Mark,

I can’t believe you have been gone 10 years. How has an entire decade passed? You didn’t get to experience much of it, but I firmly believe the second you become a parent you hit a time warp. It’s the only way to explain how fast the time has gone.

Mark, you would be so proud of Nicholas. He’s so beautiful, smart, empathetic and funny. He’s trying to figure out sarcasm, but is so upset when he accidentally hurts someone’s feelings. He’s so very smart, smart enough that people tell me all the time. But, he thinks he knows everything, so we’re working on thinking before he speaks. He loves all things science, is becoming really good at sketching, and is such an amazing big brother. He looks so much like you that when I’m not paying attention it sometimes takes my breath away. You would be so very proud of the boy he is and the young man he is becoming.

He’s starting to ask hard questions about you. We talk about you all the time, he knows that you loved Pink Floyd and Skinny Puppy and INXS. He knows that you loved to cook and read. He knows how proud you were of being an Eagle Scout. And he knows that you were an alcoholic who fought your addiction for most of your short life. I will do everything I can to help him understand the disease so that he doesn’t fall prey to it but understands what happened to you.

I can think of you now without only seeing you in the hospital wasting away. It’s taken me this long for the first image that comes to me not to be you in the hospital bed. But I can’t remember how you sounded or the way you smelled. That’s okay though, those memories fade. I’ll always be able to tell Nicholas how much you laughed even if I can’t remember how it sounded.

I’m sorry you’re not seeing N grow up. When I get sad about you, that’s the main reason. I’m glad, because for many years I was just super pissed at you for how hard our lives were and how badly you treated your body. I could only remember the bad parts. But you’ve taught me not to take things for granted. I tell people that they are nice, that they are being mean, that I love them. I squeeze my kids all the time and tell them how precious they are. And I don’t let the little things that you and I fought about turn into issues for William and me. As hard as our life together was, I remember the fun too. You taught me so much and helped me become the person I am.

We’ll be celebrating your Dad’s 80th birthday next week and your remaining siblings will be together. There are only two of the five left. But we’ll make your Dad’s birthday special and give him so much love.

I’ll give N extra squeezes tonight after I’ve picked him up from school. He asked that we do something for you tonight, I don’t know what it will be, but I love that he wants to.

You are not forgotten, even 10 years later.