Open Letters: 10 Months Reply

By Casey DiBariOpinions Editor

Dear Stephen,

It’s been 10 months since you’ve been gone. 10 months since Aunt Kyle called with the news. 10 months since the wake, the funeral, and 10 months since you left to spend Mother’s Day with Valerie. In those months, we have tried to put the pieces back together, to smooth over the hole that’s been in the family and look for the bright side in every situation.

It’s been hard, but we’re trying.

Lauren’s 21st was right after you died, and I swear to God, I saw you that whole day. I did a double-take more than once as we carried food and beer to our table. I wasn’t the only one, either. Julia turned to me at one point and asked if I saw you too. We both saw you and felt you missing from the day at the same time.

We felt you were missing at the family golf outing too. Your friends came, wearing that blue shirt you wore every year, and they golfed for you. They won the longest shot that day in your honor. I went home and cried for an hour after the fact. I know I’m not the only one.

Jason and Jenn got married in September, and when the priest was honoring the people who couldn’t make it that day, there was a collective sigh when he said your name. It was the first celebration the family had since May and I think that’s part of the reason we drank the whole bar that weekend. Jesse cried in the bathroom the first night, as he did on Lauren’s birthday.

On Christmas, when Kyle toasted to you, Michael was so upset that he slept the rest of the night. Julia, Aunt Lorraine, and I went to the playroom to find tissues and cry. Alex was so inconsolable that Katie had to take him out of the room and hold him as he completely collapsed. This was only an hour after she took Lauren out on a walk because she had been crying after the present opening.

It hasn’t been easy since you left. There have been plenty of good things that happened, and more to come: we’re going on a family vacation to Ireland, Devin and Leigh are getting married, and Sean and Jess’s babies are getting bigger and bigger each day. But with each good thing, we’re still going to feel the loss.

We’re trying, but it’s not easy. It never will be.

I wish you were still here. We all do. We know where you are; you’re safe and happy and with your mom, and we know we’ll see you again one day but we miss you. I dread that one year mark as it gets closer and closer.

I wish I had a happy way to end this letter, but I’ve racked my brain for 20 minutes and I have nothing other than I can’t wait until we all see you again.

 

I miss you,

Casey

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