Kaitlyn, we went to your grave again today. Of course the vase of flowers was knocked over again and we set them back upright. The little decorated Easter egg on a stick that I put into the ground next to your flowers was there but the only thing remaining was the egg without the stick. It was the decorative egg that was in the spring flowers I bought for you to place in your room when you came home for Easter. I was so happy for you to come home; I bought you some pretty flowers. They lived long after you were gone.
Your tombstone has not been finished yet. It was ordered in May but when it does come it will be beautiful, just like you. I will also have a matching permanent vase for flowers that will never fall down. You will always have flowers there. You loved flowers.
I do as I always do, I kneel down beside the little sign with your picture, your name and date of birth and death on it and I run my fingers across your image and across the sides of the nameplate.
But of all the places I feel you Kaitlyn, your grave site is not one of them. I feel you less there than anywhere I go because you’re not there. This is where you will be memorialized, where we will visit at times, where you will have a beautiful stone to let the world know many, many years from now that you were here on this earth and the picture will show how beautiful you are. But you are not there.
I feel your presence in the things you left behind that I touch and smell that surround me in my house. The scent of you remains on most of your things. They should be worn from all the times I’ve run my fingers across everything I have of yours. Your scent should be long gone from the clothes in your basket that I pick up and hug like my life depended on it so desperately trying to retrieve a part of you. But your scent is still there. All the things I touch of yours take me instantly to a part of your life, to scenes of your life like someone who sees visions that no one else can see. I touch your keychain that is hanging on your key hanger that I put on the wall. Your car keys are no longer there, but many keys are that I don’t even know where they go to. Your gym membership card still hangs from it. You had just gone to the gym the week you died just like you always did. I touch it and I see you there maintaining your healthy lifestyle.
The other night I took out your bill fold again. It smells like you too. I took out each and every card you had in there, one by one, the canceled credit cards we cancelled when you died, a card for the place you got your hair cut, Walmart gift cards, your change, two pictures, a Tanzania paper money bill, all your driver’s license, even the ones that had expired. Your change and 6 dollars. All just how you left it. I feel these things and I am transformed into the life you lived. You touched these things all the time, I feel you in them.
Your bookshelf that tells the story of who you are, your many interests, your extraordinary broad taste in literature. You are in all the things of yours that surround me, that were here after you went away to college and the ones I brought home after you died. You are everywhere Kaitlyn. You are everywhere except for your physical body that I can no longer see, touch, or hug. I can’t see your eyes when I tell you how “I love you very so.” But you are here. You’re in all the flowers I see, the dragonflies I see, the butterflies that flutter, and the breeze that blows across my furrowed and sad forehead as I look across the yard missing you.
But you’re not in that grave Kaitlyn. I will sometimes pay tribute to you there, but you are anywhere but there.
I love you and I miss you.