I miss walking into the kitchen, linoleum tapping underneath my steps, to watch you leaned over the sink, one foot resting atop another, drinking a cup of tea or sampling something you’d just cooked, dreamily looking through the window to the fields beyond.
I miss the Saturday trips to the public library, listening to National Public Radio before promptly shutting off the BBC, where you’d drop me off and remind me to pick up a few large-print mysteries for you.
I miss your ability to remain unflappable, even when I told you I was going to college somewhere far away, or applying to a graduate school in a program you’d never heard of. Instead, you always said, “You can do whatever you set your mind to.” When I asked you how you managed to get so much accomplished, you’d simply reply, “I haven’t done anymore than I should have done.”
I miss the contentment of lying on the couch, my head inches from the television, watching whatever was on while you sat in your chair and read your Bible, or a magazine you’d brought home from work.
I miss your reminders not to hate my mother, which was my default reaction throughout most of my childhood and adulthood. “She’s the only one you got,” you would say. As much as I try to remember that at present, reacting otherwise is still a struggle that I often do not win.
I miss the time you took for animals and small children. You often let us keep the ones that turned up as strays, children, too. There was always enough love in our tiny house for all who entered.
I miss your voice. I don’t really remember what it sounds like, but I imagine in my memory that it is melodic, kind, deep-throated. I have visions of remembering your laughter. I wish we had cell phones during those times before you passed, because I am sure I would have recorded a message you sent me and kept it forever so I could replay it for all these times when I would give anything to hear it.
I miss being able to turn to you for parenting advice. You raised seven children of your own, then took me, sometimes my sister, and a cousin or two every now and then. You would know how to mother me as I mother my own son.
I miss the fact that E will never know you. I will tell him about you often, will feel your presence as I move through life, will be thankful to have had such an important person in my life who stepped in to raise me when my own mother and father would not.
I will carry you forward, with me, with him, all the while, missing you.