I wish I had written this when it was still fresh. When I still had tears in my eyes. When the loss was still just under the surface...but I didn't. I just held it in and put it off.
A week ago i drove by what was my childhood babysitter's home. I hadn't seen it in years...even though it is close to my parent's home. I don't think I purposefully avoided it, but maybe I did. There are so many memories wrapped up in that location for me. My grandparents lived across the street from there for many years as well.
But this babysitter of mine was more than just that. She was family. Her family was mine and like wise. At least it felt that way to me. In later years I also considered her a friend.
Several years ago now she died very unexpectedly at a fairly young age. It felt horrible then and in some ways it feels worse now. Because now I know the things, at least in my life, that she hasn't been here for...
My getting married.
The birth of my daughter.
I miss her more when I have a dream about her. Because sometimes in these dreams she's still alive. It's like I get to spend a little more time with her and then I wake up confused and sad.
It makes me all the more grateful I still have my parents, my sister and my other living relatives. I love them all and I'm struck by how short this life really is. How it all goes so fast. How time changes and re-shapes things.
The house looks different now than I remember it. I think some of the trees are gone. The steps where I split open my forehead are still there. The empty field where her son and I rode on his 4-wheeler was long ago paved over. The yard somehow seems smaller. My grandparents house is still the same dark brown.
I played in that street, rode bikes down the sidewalk and watched cartoons in her lap in that little house. And it all seems like it was just yesterday.