It was two years ago this evening I received the news. Since I had been flying home from speaking at a retreat in Texas, I’m pretty sure I was the last to find out.
My husband and I frantically packed our family of five and left for home the next morning. During that eight hour drive, tears came often and sporadically. This can’t be real. He’s really not dead. He’ll be there when we get home. He will.
It felt like a really bad dream. Completely surreal.
I stood shaking, with my mom and dad, brother and sister in the funeral room parlor. We sobbed for what seemed like hours as we said our final goodbyes to James. My eyes played tricks on me as I looked into the casket. His chest seemed to raise and lower. But it couldn’t be. He had been dead for days. My eyes saw what my heart longed for. Breath. Life. A second chance.
My hand touched his cold face and I kissed his forehead.
Back at my parent’s home it felt as if he should be home for dinner any minute now. Still, to this day, I expect him to walk around the corner and make his appearance.
But he never does. He never will.
How I long to see him again. To be a better sister. To store up and savor every moment we had together.
There is a place in my heart that will continually long for him to pull up in the driveway to join us for dinner. The grief-filled room will forever be in my blueprints.
As a family, we are completely incomplete without James. We have yet to take any new pictures together. It’s not that we’ve made a pact not to. We’ve not even talked about it. It just doesn’t seem natural anymore; it doesn’t seem right to take a family picture with one of us missing.
Maybe we’ll be able to this year. Maybe.