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the missing

liz lamoreux

 

ellie jane and great (great) aunt honey

today, as i watched my daughter sit on your sister's lap, the missing caught me in its clutches. the missing. as she made the funniest sounds to get ellie jane to laugh, i began to silently will myself (with every cell) to be standing in a family room in south carolina (a family room that now belongs to another family). i thought that maybe i could just will myself to be standing in front of that rocking chair that i can just see in that photo from my first christmas. to be standing while watching you hold my daughter and purse your lips to vibrate them to make her giggle. her smile would heal you. this i know to be true. her smile would cause your heart to almost hurt with the joy you would feel in that moment when you would look up and catch my eye and we would be able to see the love between us. 

in this moment, as i sit in a quiet house looking at this photo, my heart hurts with the missing. i can actually feel a pain in the middle of my chest as i sit here. the missing. almost six years. it gets softer. it becomes like the train that whistles in the distance a few times a day that is just always there but not so loud that you notice it daily or even weekly. it is just there until the moment when you are dancing in the kitchen as neil diamond sings, "she got the way to move me, cherry" and then the playlist suddenly ends and it seems so very quiet until you hear that train call from miles away and you find yourself paying attention again. it catches you. and then you notice it each time for a while.

i know (oh how i know) that i was so lucky to know you, to call you my grandmother, my friend. i see the beauty in all that time we had together. i see the beauty in today as i think about the joy in the eyes of a 91-year-old woman holding a seven-month-old little girl as she giggled. and the missing is so much softer now. but in this moment, i take a deep breath and close my eyes and i say the truth: i want more days. i want more time. i want it to have happened differently. in this moment, i wish (for you. for me. for her) that i would open my eyes and find myself in a little house in south carolina. and you would know the little girl sleeping down the hall who heals with her smile. and i would hear your voice again. in this moment, i would hear your voice.