The anniversary of Joe’s death is in 15 days.
On our entertainment center is a large picture of Joe that we had blown up for his memorial, his cremation urn, a picture Cole drew, and some other meaningful Joe items. On occasion, I add and subtract other things, like a favorite seasonal ornament or the 2010 Chicago Waldorf School yearbook. Joe always loved to look through Cole’s yearbooks. Joe and I both love candles, so I often burn one for both of us.
A visiting friend recently commented with surprise, “Oh, you still have the memorial stuff up?”
I shrugged and said, “Yeah, I guess I do.”
“When will you put them away?” she wondered. I didn’t answer.
When we had our last 8th grade parent evening, I walked into the room and smiled when I noticed a familiar item: a worn out glider. It was the kind of glider in which you might have rocked your children when they were small. Each year, Waldorf students and their teachers move their chairs, desks and supplies to a new classroom. Each year, the glider has moved with us. When Cole was in about 5th grade, I remember a parent asking our teacher how long she would keep the glider, and she answered, “As long as the children will let me rock them.” The worn glider with the fading blue seat cushions is not something you ever put away.
While life for Cole and me has gone on, I still feel Joe’s presence, hear his voice, and yes, I miss him like the crazy he often makes me. I doubt I will every stop asking God what he was thinking, or wondering WHY. I’m not sure I will ever get over the anger I feel at this life cut too short. I’m not sure I’ll ever get over the pain of knowing my child has been denied a lifetime with a father who had so much yet to give him.
Joe’s whiskers, the smell of his breath, his wild hair covering the pillow next to mine, his arms holding me and often the boy sleeping between us, the love we never doubted, even during the worst of times; these are memories I plan to rock for Cole and for myself for the rest of our lives. These are the memories I will never put away.