It’s been five years.
Five long years since I’ve heard your voice. Five long years since I’ve held your hand. Five long years since I’ve laughed alongside that booming, contagious laugh. Since I’ve seen that twinkle in your eye.
Five, long, painful, deliriously happy, juxtaposing years.
It seems fitting then, that this week, we let the world around us in on a little secret. One we’ve been carrying for eight weeks. One I wanted to share with you the moment I found out. A secret that you would be so damn excited about.
A baby brother. Your fifth grandchild.
The fourth who’ll never know you.
After growing up surrounded by females, I’m shortly going to find myself in a family of boys – the girly girl who spent my childhood on the dance stage and the netball court will have to learn how to deal with growing boys. I’m sure you’re laughing your head off up there!
Sometimes, I’m not sure how I feel, doing all of this without you. There’s so much I want to know, so much that only you can share. I often hear your voice in my head as I’m saying things. I often hear my own voice coming out exactly like yours would – with the same intonation, the same phrases.
Sometimes, I go back to those last moments together and I can’t remember anything except how your hand felt in mine. Other days, I go back and I can see everything clear as day in front of me. And I relive it, over and over again.
A lot has happened in the past five years. There have been losses, weddings, holidays, house moves and work moves. There have been first steps, first words, babies and more babies. Yet, sometimes it feels like yesterday that I was arguing about where we were going to host what would be your final Shabbat dinner. Despite my protests that we would bring it all to you, you were determined to be in my first home as we celebrated our first Shabbat as a married couple. I still remember schlepping all the food back and forth, the veal scallopini sauce spilling in my car, as you yelled from your bed that I had to get a move on because everyone was due to arrive at my house within a couple of hours. I remember you staying until the very end, despite your exhaustion and your pain.
I remember coming to your house the following morning, and the moment we realised that this was it. The moment we called the doctor, the moments of pure clarity and the moments where I felt like I was talking to myself, yet little movements from you told me otherwise.
As this little life grows inside me, I grapple with the idea of doing everything all over again without you; with the future our family is going to have with such a presence missing.
I know it can be done. We don’t have a choice. But I don’t like it.
I wish more than anything you could be surrounded by your grandchildren on a Saturday morning after they’d all demanded to spend the night. I wish you could watch your grandchildren grow. I wish you could know all their quirks, their personalities, their strengths and their gaps. I wish you could see how their relationship together continues to blossom.
I can’t wait to see how your precious grandchildren grow – all five of them. I just wish you could see it all too.