Jackie left us. Left his pain. Left his sickness. Left his cancer.
In the aftermath of his departure there is a palpable emptiness. It hurts. I see his shadow in the outline of boxes…a pile of toys…the darkness of corners.
As I walk through the house, I catch myself stopping and staring at the spots I know he sat. His memory wakes me at night and chases away my sleep.
I find myself measuring time in relation to his death. Last time I saw so-in-so, Jackie was alive. Last time I went to work, I came home to his smiling face. Last time I made this dinner, he was in the kitchen with me. Everything I do I can compare to a time he was with us.
The smallest thing throws me off guard and overwhelms me with grief. At this point in time, I would say, those who can’t understand or relate to my pain don’t fully understand me. His loss consumes me. While I am shackled by heavy sadness, he is now free from his illness. That thought keeps me from irrationally regretting our crucial decision. His absence highlights what an important part of our life he represented.
He is missed as deeply as he was loved in life. I hope he can now run free. I hope he feels happiness. I hope he is joyous. Mostly I hope he swings by to visit every once and awhile – wiggles around with excitement when we get home, eagerly leans in while we have dinner and curls up by the fire at night. There will always be a spot for him in our home and in our hearts.
He will forever be our buddy… forever our big, big boy.