As I type this letter to you I am wrestling with the fact that you have been dead for five years. Even though I have lived without you for 1,825 days...every once in awhile I still feel I could turn over my shoulder and you would be there with a big grin wondering what I will think of your latest joke.
You would be amazed by the growth in our families this year. Your brother George is a Grandpa twice over, and my brothers and sisters have given us three new babies to love. I can imagine you running away from anyone trying to get you to hold a baby for fear of "breaking the little thing." Despite your fear of all things baby, your love of family and friends was a constant in your life. Many times I still miss the generous way you would lend a hand to anyone you loved who was in need. I even sometimes miss how long it took to go grocery shopping with you since we inevitably ran into someone you knew from somewhere...and then a half hour conversation would follow figuring out how, when, and where.
The kids have become adults in so many ways. They are changed by loving and losing you. Sometimes this makes me terribly sad, and other times the changes in them make me terribly proud. Each one has developed a level of compassion uncommon in people their age. Your death was felt in so many communities; I still meet people who have stories to share about ways that you made a difference in their lives. When I walk away from these conversations I hope you are somewhere near by blushing at the praise lavished upon you.
I am getting married this year. Michael is amazing, very different than you but like you as well. The thing I admire most about him is his ability to be himself. He doesn't try to be you, nor is he threatened by my love for you. He is uniquely Michael, and grateful that I have the capacity to love someone as much as I love you. This is a gift I can't adequately describe, and I feel very blessed to have him in my life.
This five year anniversary has been hard for me. I miss you in so many ways, and carry with me the fact that you loved me, and that you chose me. As my life moves into a future that I am excited to embrace, I need to say out loud that you come with me wherever I go. My heart has expanded to include so many new people, and at the same time the place that has always been yours remains.
I love you,