I just took your glass pumpkin dish out of its box and filled it with candy. Butterfingers and M&Ms. Funny thing is that's probably exactly what you would have filled it with when you were alive. I obtained the glass pumpkin in the last round of cleaning out that dad did. In fact, I obtained quite a fair amount of things from that last cleaning out... most of which is still sitting in the floor in the extra room downstairs. It's so hard to deal with the stuff. You don't think it will bother you, don't think pulling an inanimate object out of a box or unwrapping it from tissue paper would affect you emotionally. But it does.
Today, as I took the glass pumpkin out, I realized you were the last one to touch it. Three years ago, you pulled it out, filled it with candy, and then packed it away when pumpkin season was over. Just three years ago, you were still here, still fighting, still breathing in and out, still actively my mother. And now, I find myself staring at glass pumpkins and wondering what that simple moment looked like when you packed it away for the very last time of your life.
So the leaves and pumpkins and witches have made their debut in the stores along with ginormous bags of candy for us to purchase and consume long before Halloween. And the seasons still change and the world still turns and life moves on. And I miss my mother. My mama. A being that will never be replaced. A void in my heart that will never be filled.
Some would probably tell me all Christianly and trite that God can fill the hole. But He cannot. He is not my mother, nor will He ever be. And He knows that. God can't fill those holes. He can work on the hurts and disappointments, but He doesn't try to jump inside the holes where loved ones were. He works around those, pruning and nurturing the areas that need to be stronger to support the grief. Sometimes, I just tell God that I can't right now. I can't talk to Him, can't feel Him much. But I still believe Him, His promises. I still believe that I am His, and that you are with Him. But I don't have energy for much more. It takes all I can do to make sense of this place and the fact that now I have your glass pumpkin. Now it's mine to fill, to place on the counter, to see the kids enjoy a chocolate treat from its hollow core. The smallest things take the most energy. The very tiniest parts of you that still linger take the most energy to process, to accept.
I'm in this weird space, a place where I find it hard to remember what it was like to have you in my life. It's been almost three years, and so I've fallen into a new routine. I miss you, but I can't remember what it's like to be able to pick up the phone and call you to discuss a pressing matter in my life. I can't remember what it's like to walk into your house and you actually be there, sitting in your spot on the couch, the dogs beside you, HGTV on in the background. And even though I can't remember what it was like, I still don't know how to do this. This. This being here without you. I long to have my person back, one I can call just to say that I'm thinking about getting my fall stuff down from the attic and ask if you think it's too early. I long to be able to talk to you about who David wants to ask to Homecoming this year. I want to talk to you about Madalyn; she's getting so big, you know, growing up right in front of me faster than I would like. And even though I can't remember what it feels like to have you, I still miss your presence, still miss your just being here on this earth with me.
Well, this turned out to be quite depressing, this little letter to heaven. Sometimes I don't even realize how sad I am until I write it out. I wonder, mama, does the sad part ever go away? I'm not quite sure it does. And this is why I find it so hard to write these days. It's easier not to think at all. So much easier. And if you were still alive, you would look at me and smile and say, "And that's okay."
So I will just remain okay for quite a while. Quite a long while.
I will eat a Butterfinger for you.
Love you always.