Sunday, June 20, 2010

Dear Kelsey (Part II)

Dear Kelsey,

You left us a year ago today.  I guess, technically, it won't be a year until tonight, but it's close enough to a full year that I can safely say that it has been both the fastest and the longest year of my life.  It feels so long since I've seen you, but I can't believe a whole year now separates us.  As I said so often in the first weeks, it's so weird.

I always thought I was prepared for it on some level because you had been so sick for so long.  But, you're never really prepared for something like this, and you always believe that a miracle will happen.  I always thought we would figure it out somehow.  Marissa really believed that.  She would comfort me with that idea sometimes.  She believed in you completely.  I confess, and I know you know this, I lost sight of you sometimes in The Beast.  That is one of the many things I'm left to wrestle with.

It's hard to know what to say today because I think you've been watching.  I sense you sometimes when I listen to my music, much of which you introduced me to.  Some of which I introduced you to, but I find it's really more the other way around.  I listen to the lyrics and believe, maybe because I need to, that you are communicating to me.  I have been sustained by that very often.

I would tell you, however, what you also probably know that if you're trying to reach out to your father, he's not receiving the signal.  I worry about him more than I worry about anyone else, although all the family has been impacted by this and feels the loss.  I don't know what to do for him, probably because he's not sure what to do for himself, but you know how he can be:  closed off.  If you could do anything for us from where you are, I would ask you to reach out and make sure he hears you.  I don't know what you want to say, but you'll know the right thing.  You and he had a bond that was different than ours.  He feels like he's less without you.  Make him understand that he still has you, just not in the flesh.

Do you see people you know in the afterlife?  Are you with Mother?  If so, please tell her that I hope they are letting her drive everywhere all the time.   I hope you now know that the way she acted toward us the last several years was her disease and not the real grandmother.  I know she was hard and hurtful sometimes, but her dementia was like her own Beast.  What I hope is that you both are at peace now.  I hope you can re-establish the relationship you had when you were little.  She loved you and your sister both, she just didn't understand the eating disorder so she misunderstood you as a result.  Can you blame her?  None of us really did either.  Get her to tell you the story of the party that prompted the photo of all the women crashed out in their basement that I found in their old slides.  I think Mother is the one face down on the floor.  She had a side to her that you and I never really got to see.  I would have liked to have known the free spirited Ruth, I am sure you would have too.  Now's your chance.  Neither of you need to worry about the earthly constraints any longer.
Your sister misses you so much, but I am so proud of her that she has not stopped living her life.  I think this is best way to honor you.  Somedays are hard for her.  I don't know if that will ever change.  She will never forget you, I know that for certain.  And she will, I fear, feel a pull of sorrow on days that should be her happiest; you won't be standing as her maid/matron of honor at her wedding.  You won't be there to hold her hand when she's in labor.  And, you won't be with us in the stands when she graduates college, which I sincerely hope happens before the other two.  But, while there will be some sorrow in that knowledge, I know you want her happiness, and I know, as you have done for me, you will let her know you are there in some way.  I believe you will always be there for her.  I know you loved her as much as she loved you.

Tum-Tum is doing well.  But, she's been agitated the last few days and a little demanding.  Hard to know if she's reacting to the wonderful skunk incident and the resulting smell that we still haven't quite got rid of (were you watching when that whole thing went down?!) or if she somehow senses what this weekend is.  I wonder if she still expects you to come home, and she's just using us as company in the meantime, but, sadly, I think she knows by now that we're all she's got.  She tolerates us and maybe even has some mild attachment to us by now, but I've never been greeted by her the way she used to cry for you when you came home.  You remain her one true love.

Finally, there are so many apologies I owe you.  I can't list them all here.  I'm sorry that the last words we spoke to one another were in anger.  I am so very sorry I spent so much of your childhood at work.  I am most of all sorry I couldn't figure out what it would take to make you well.  Maybe we can help someone else.  I hope so.  But, if I help a hundred people, maybe even a million, it won't make up for the one I was supposed to help.   I couldn't do it alone, you would have had to help, but I wish I had tried harder.  I wished I hadn't given in to being so tired and hopeless.  There's not much else to say about that right now.

Whatever we did, we did always love you.  I think you know that, I sense that you do.  For now, that gets me through.

Much love,

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