Greyson* is turning two next week. He is walking and talking and eating real food. He also sucks his thumb and crawls into his mama’s lap. I love him. I love you.
Natalie turned on Finding Dory when she went to the store. I remember meeting your Uncle Mason at the theater. The movie was so much sadder than I expected. Or maybe it was hormones?
I see you in my waking dreams. I see your cousins and I think of you. You were right there! You were living. Why aren’t you still living?
I feel your absence in my breathing. I wait for footsteps just around the bend. I hug your ashes and I think, “None of this is real. When I have paid my penance, I will hold you.”
I will never get to hold you.
I am planning for your birthday. You will never have a birthday.
I am living on fast forward. I am living standing still.
In another life, you’re sitting on this patio. You’re holding trains and watching Grey run circles round the dogs. You’re eating fruit and growing tall and everybody smiles. You live in promised futures that were lies.
* Names have been changed to protect privacy.