It seems only fitting that I would write this now, up in the sky nearest to the stars and the moon and the clouds. It’s been 3 years and 4 months since he left us so suddenly and my life has been forever changed.
I will never forget that summer day. The call came late morning; the number registering made me feel that something was off. It was the wrong day, the wrong time for him to be calling. As soon as I answered I knew something was wrong, the way my name echoed, the hollowness of his voice.
“What’s wrong?” I said, feeling the fear rising in the pit of my stomach, feeling my skin tingle and crawl with the sensation of just knowing.
“Have you checked your Facebook this morning?”
He sounded empty and far away, terribly sad, and sorry for me.
“Who?” I whispered, with the breath catching in my throat.
There was a devastating pause.
“WHO?” I asked again forcefully wishing that I could stop time, not wanting to know the answer, wishing that I could rewind the minutes and that the phone never rang and that my family remained smiling around me instead of turning pale and ashen and staring at me with fear in their eyes.
And my world began to crumble.
“Is he OK? “I whispered, hoping for something, anything better than what I knew was coming.
“IS HE OK?” I repeated louder feeling the urge to run.
“Is he ok?” I choked, I begged, I pleaded. “PLEASE, tell me he’s OK.
“No. I’m so sorry, Misti. He’s not ok.”
“How bad?” I started to sob, “How bad is it, please….” I was frantic now, people staring at me, my legs both buckling and trying to flee at the same time.
“He’s gone. I’m so sorry. He’s gone.”
“No.” I whispered falling.
“NO! Noooooooooooo!!!” I screamed suddenly and I ran as far as I could go with the phone clutched in my hand, with his voice echoing in my ear, with the air getting thick in my mouth, with sobs choking in my dry throat.
“NO!” I screamed falling to the ground, pressing my face to the cold concrete, tears streaming, tears splashing against dirt, my body empty, rigid, spent. I wanted to disappear into the cold ground, I wanted the weight of the clouds to press me into the earth and stop the pain that was spreading through my body. I wanted to smash the phone into little bits and pretend I wasn’t hearing his voice.
I wanted to hold Peter in my arms and squeeze him smelling his hair, I wanted to see him smile and ride again.
I cried while my friend Mike hugged me from across the continent. I cried while my husband held me sobbing in the dirt, I cried while my sister and my mom and my aunt looked at me helpless with pain in their hearts, their tears falling silently. I felt like I’d never be able to stand again.
I cried until I heard my own boy crying, calling out to his mommy and the sound of his tiny little voice needing me was the only sound in the world that could have given me the strength to get up off that cold ground.
I stood slowly with dirt and tears, with heavy limbs, with aching bones and I walked, in dream like disbelief across the distance to hold my own son in my arms. I buried my face in his sweet warm neck and I smelled him and hugged him and never ever wanted to let him go.
I cried hot tears for missing Peter and for his family that would never get to hold their boy, the way I was holding mine, ever again.
They say that time heals all wounds but it isn’t true. Some wounds are too deep to ever heal. Nothing can fix a broken heart.
The Christmas tree is up and twinkling with blue and white lights and the sparkle of silver tinsel, and while it makes me happy and full of love to share the holidays with my family, a special time of year when we focus on being in the now, and loving each other for being exactly who they are. It is also a time where I feel his absence even more deeply.
I ache to see his face and to hear him laugh again. I yearn to watch his body move in perfect rhythm with his machine and to be able to help him find time where none seems to exist. I yearn to see him win again.
I regret not taking that photo of him and my boy together when I had the chance, me thinking that there would be so many more opportunities, kicking myself now for never having a picture of that memory. We talked about how my son would be 13 when he would be 26 and how he would most certainly look up to him, we wondered if he would ever be faster. We laughed.
I miss you so much Peter. Not a day goes by that you are not somehow in my thoughts, that I don’t use the loss of you to appreciate more moments, to seize more opportunities, to take more pictures.
These random dates though, Christmas holidays, your birthday, mother’s day, the anniversary of you leaving us, days with numbers that mean something…these times are the hardest.
Time does not heal all wounds.