Many people whom I loved dearly have gone missing from my life. I think of them a kajillion times a day—until I banish sad thoughts from my mind. They are gone, and they are not coming back.
But sometimes, maybe, it would be okay to think of them, to remember, and to allow myself to be sad for a while.
There is Grandma, who loved me and wanted to be proud of me, and I felt I let her down, but she loved me anyway. I still miss her and remember the things she told me, taught me, and all her loving ways, though she's been gone some 55 years from my life.
Dad and I got off to a bad start when I was only two. I never knew how to relate to him with his stern and quiet ways. But in later years, probably because I'm so much like him, I came to understand the things for which, before, I could not forgive him, nor get over my fear of him. I'm very thankful that I finally realized how much he loved me—and that he always had. And I'd give most anything to have him back to make up for lost time and explore with him the kindred spirits that we are. But he's been gone for more than 16 years.
And Mom! How I miss her. Being with her was a joy. Having her come to my house to see me when I was grown up and married and living far from home was the best thing that could happen to me. I miss our talks. I miss her sweet and loving ways, her sense of humor and her penchant for always doing the right thing. I hurt her sometimes. And sometimes she hurt me, but always there was love to bind us. There are so many things I still want to ask her. I can't. She's been gone more than 11 years.
I hurt my sister, too. Never meant to. And she hurt me a time or two, though I know she didn't really want to. It's what we do to our loved ones. Damn it. Then we hate ourselves forever when they are dead and gone.
Ah, Joan, my dearest sister, friend, and hero, hardly an hour goes by that I don't think of something you said to me, or something I need to ask you, or news I just want to share because you care. Or cared. Always, about everything, no matter how trivial or how serious. In times long gone—going on two years gone, I would pick up the phone and call just about every day. Sometimes more than once a day. But now I can't. you're not there anymore and it seems an unfair tragedy.
A bad plan, this dying thing. You're born, you try to make a life by trial and error, you endear yourself to those who know you, you deteriorate, and you die—to be seen and heard from no more forever.
And it's not just family missing from my life. I'm missing my dearest friend, supporter, and mentor, Florence Ore. She was a role model to me and a confidante and cohort. I'm flooded with fond memories of being with her in her home, discussing books, critiquing writing, sharing woes, and finding a sympathetic ear and wise counsel. I am sad that those days are gone because she is no longer there in her lovely home. Gone for half a year and I miss her. I miss them all, and time won't change that.
So, I'm taking time to remember them, miss them, and be sad. Then I'll love the ones still left and give something of myself to the world by taking what I've learned from those missing. See if I can turn it into something I can leave, even if only good memories, when I become the one who is missing.