Today marks nine months since you leukemia claimed you, and you went Home.
Over many years of my adulthood, I did something I saw you model when I was younger: I wrote you most every Sunday evening. A proper letter. First in long-hand, and then typed, and eventually emailed. When we lived on Wingate, you did the same for your parents.
Truth be told, I never did see writing you as a chore, but I did come to resent the fact that your own letters and emails were increasingly infrequent. I was dutiful, chatty, present in a wi-fi sort of way . . . even if you were not.
Now that you are gone, I miss writing, and several times over the last few months I’ve thought “I need to write Pop tonight” only to remember that you are gone.
As I write now, I’m fighting through tears that sting. I cried very little after you died. But this kind of exercise makes me weep — for loss, for the relationship that really didn’t have, for my own mortality. Perhaps for many other reasons.
So, the news:
You probably know that your brother died less than six months after you did. Uncle Jim’s remains are buried at a military cemetery at Fort Scott, but his good deeds live on. I recall seeing his goodbye to you, and thinking that it was one of the most heart-crunching moments of my life. I’m glad that he, too, is out of his suffering.
Luke is finally getting his 16th birthday trip. We go to Toronto next month to see Niagara Falls and be tourists for a couple of days. And Joseph is in 7th grade, which is hard to believe. Kristen is pregnant, with a baby due in less than two months. Your great-granddaughter Lily is now more than a year old.
I got that research grant I wanted, spending most of July abroad in Vienna. In fact, since I saw you last, I’ve been to Moscow and Vienna and London and Stockholm and Florence. And New York. My sabbatical trips (starting next month) are taking me to Washington D.C., New York, Chicago several times, Toronto, and Hong Kong, Bangkok, and Saigon. I’ll probably travel a bit more, but that’s all that is on the books right now.
I’m doing Visitor training with NASM in November, then spending Thanksgiving in New York City.
The Royals are at the bottom of the AL Central, but the Cards are still fighting for a wildcard spot, at least as it appears today.
You didn’t have any love for Trump, so you will be gleeful to know that he continues to melt into more and more hot water, and that perhaps the tide is turning. But I’ll continue to maintain that Pence is even worse, since he’s filled with guile and quite capable of getting his wishes.
We finally took care of the family belongings in May after my school year ended. Karen and Beth and I took three days to sort and toss and donate and take things home ourselves. Your old Royal typewriter found a good home with a retired minister. I am thinking that your clothes are still at the house, but JoAnne is in no hurry to be rid of them.
That wedding present cuckoo clock that you and Mom received? It’s cleaned up, and hanging in my own stairwell. I wind it twice a day. You never did let me do that as a kid, but the clock is now in safe and careful hands.
The marble-topped nightstands from Argentina are in now in my bedroom, as are the lamps that you and Mom had on your own nightstands for decades. And the family rocking chair is stored at Karen’s, but I’ll claim it on my next trip over to see my sisters.
Your stone came in just before Memorial Day and looks very nice indeed.
Perhaps the most important news in my own life is that I have met a wonderful man. We are long-distancing the relationship, and seeing how this goes, but I’m totally smitten, and so is he. His visit over Labor Day confirmed what we had both been feeling for months. He’s quite the sweetheart, and funny, and smart, and talented too.
By the way, your credit card bills are all-but-paid. I have one left to take care of, and then I think we are done. Jo now has legal affairs in order, and we’ve had no family drama at all.
I always closed with “That’s enough for now,” and it is, so I’ll stop. I just wanted you to know I was thinking about you, and still processing this new adulthood.
I hope you’re enjoying Heaven.