it has been nine years since Billy died.
nine years. i’ve mulled those two words over in my head a million times today. some days, it feels like forever since i’ve seen him. today, i wonder how the hell it’s been nine years.
after he died, i got a letter from a very close friend of one of my lifelong friends. i met this woman when we were in grade school. she and i were not close, we were connected through our mutual friend. and although i rarely see her now, i think of her often, because of this letter she wrote to me when i was first mourning the loss of Billy. she had lost her mother when she was young. in her letter, she described how time doesn’t necessarily heal our hurt. she said that people will tell me that the grief will fade but that had not been the case with her. because she wants her mom with her, for the good times and the bad. her mother is who she wants to go to when she is celebrating something special, to console her when things are rough. she was right. and now, when i am the one consoling my friends through loss, this is what i share. an honest portrayal, through my eyes, of what it feels like to lose a loved one, a parent, a best friend. i will be forever grateful to this woman for her honesty, as hard as it was to hear, because i feel the same way. as i’ve described in previous posts, like this one, the sadness of Billy not with me is overwhelming. yes, the words she wrote to me nine years ago still ring true.
today, i wake up, immediately feeling the weight of august 6. my phone starts to ring. friends call, text, and email with messages of love and support. one of my Dad’s best friends texts about how today is hard, and he is missed. around 9 am, i go outside in the yard to eat my breakfast. it was a beautiful day, with a bright blue sky, just like that day nine years ago. and the tears flow down my cheeks just as fierce as that day nine years ago. i yearn for him to be here. 9:15 comes, the time Billy died. a deer appears about 20 feet away. she is chewing on apples in our yard and staring at my dog, kona, and i. the little lady is inside, i can hear her singing through the open windows. i watch the deer and kona watch each other. i take comfort in the fact that kona was with me that day nine years ago, and he is right next to me now. i take comfort in my daughter’s, Billy’s granddaughter’s, voice. i walk inside to a beautiful bouquet of flowers, a delivery of love from a dear friend who i met the week after Billy died. her thoughtfulness, kindness, and support for me in these nine years has been amazing. all my friends have been so wonderful, never questioning my never-ending grief. i start crying again, overwhelmed by the goodness that my friends bring to my world. my daughter asks what’s wrong. i wrap her in my arms and tell her what i’m feeling. she tells me that it will be okay. and she is right. it will.